The end of home delivery

Canada Post's announced end to home delivery comes just as Chilliwack homeowners renew security complaints about community mailboxes

Ryder Lake residents who hoped to resurrect home mail delivery in their neighbourhood face a tough task.

Just as they voiced concerns this week about the vulnerability of community mailboxes (Mail box thefts prompt call for action, Progress, Dec. 11), Canada Post was announcing an end to home delivery for the one-third of Canadians who still receive it.

The move is part of a major restructuring plan that the Crown corporation will unfold over the next five years. When done, Canada Post will have 8,000 fewer employees, charge more to deliver mail, and further “streamline” its operations.

The plan will save the corporation between $700 million and $900 million, it said.

But it likely won’t win many fans in places like downtown Chilliwack, where door-to-door personal delivery will be replaced by community mailboxes.

For the majority of Chilliwack residents, particularly those living in Sardis, community mailboxes have been a fact of life for decades. In fact, all new subdivisions are served by community mailboxes.

From Canada Post’s position, the units provide a safe and secure location for mail and packages, but at a fraction of the cost of home delivery.

Residents like those in Ryder Lake, who say their mailboxes have been broken into regularly, are not so sure.

Indeed, a recent CBC investigation found that since 2008 there have been more than 4,800 cases in B.C. where community mailboxes were broken into or vandalized.

Certainly there are instances in Chilliwack, particularly this time of year. The extent of mail thefts a few years ago so galvanized the community, it prompted an angry town hall meeting.

Canada Post has since taken several steps to improve security, including making community mailboxes more secure.

But no system is perfect. Canada Post urges residents to empty their mailboxes regularly, and watch what they send through the mail.

That’s advice more of us will have to get used to.

The community mailbox is here to stay.