Council questions new bill for boxes

Canada Post to start charging developers to put in new community mailboxes

Canada Post plans to charge developers $200 per address for community mailboxes like these

Next year, Canada Post will start charging residential developers $200 per address to put in community mailboxes.

Cranbrook city council was alarmed to learn of the change on Monday, November 5, in a letter from Jacques Côté, group president, physical delivery for Canada Post, sent to municipalities all over the country.

In the letter, dated October 18, Côté explained that over the past five years, mail volumes have dropped almost 20 per cent per address, contributing to unprecedented financial losses in 2011 and the first half of 2012 for Canada Post.

“To date, Canada Post has incurred the full cost of installing community mail boxes and activating all addresses in new developments – on top of absorbing costs associated with maintaining the equipment and providing reliable deliver,” wrote Côté.

Starting January 1, 2013, developers will be required to pay a one-off fee of $200 per address to install and activate community mail boxes, in addition to the existing process for installing community mail boxes.

“Community mail boxes are a high-value service that offers secure and convenient mail and parcel delivery to Canadians. This change is necessary to ensure that Canada Post is able to maintain the high level of service that Canadians have come to expect, while contributing to the corporation’s fiscal stability,” wrote Côté.

But upon receiving the letter, Cranbrook city council expressed concern that the national corporation is “downloading” expenses onto developers.

“It’s downloading on our developers, it’s downloading onto those of us in smaller communities,” said Councillor Denise Pallesen.

Mayor Wayne Stetski calculated what this expense will mean for residential developers.

“What that means is if you have a development of 50 townhouses, for example, that will require 50 mailboxes, that’s an additional $10,000 cost to the developer.”

Pallesen made a motion to send a letter expressing council’s concern to Canada Post, but it was voted down in a tie vote. Pallesen, Stetski and Councillor Bob Whetham were in favour, while Councillors Sharon Cross, Gerry Warner and Angus Davis were opposed to sending a letter of complaint.

“They are losing money like any other business. They have to recover money somehow because they are not getting it through our mail,” said Cross.