PORT HOPE – A handful of Victoria Street North residents concerned about a proposed switch from individual roadside mail delivery to a communal super mailbox could end up with at-the-door mail service.
At the Oct. 18 public works committee meeting, Director of Municipal Engineering Services Peter Angelo asked the committee for clear direction to handling future mail delivery to the seven households along the newly-constructed stretch of the road between Jocelyn and Klein streets. In July, spokeswoman for the affected homeowners, Betty Collins, told council there are no sidewalks to walk along and the trek across a very busy street to fetch mail at the temporary super mailbox site at the corner of Klein Street represents a real danger to residents. The committee has instructed staff to contact the Canada Post ombudsman to explore the possibility of at-the-door mail service for the affected residents. In addition, before any decision is considered, staff has been instructed to confer with the accessibility committee to ensure any proposed community mailbox is fully accessible to people in wheelchairs and the visually impaired.
Mr. Angelo told the committee the issue boils down to common sense and safety. Victoria Street North has been reconstructed to urban standards and it is the responsibility of the public works department to ensure the safety of municipal streets. With the volume of traffic on the road, 2,200 vehicles per day, and no shoulder to allow mail delivery employees to remove vehicles from oncoming traffic, a community mailbox on Vaughan Avenue is the safest choice. The proposed location represents a half-way point for Victoria Road North residents, a maximum 100-metre walk in any direction, he added. Development in the area has and continues to increase traffic volumes, the public works vehicle yard is in the area and the road is also a designated snow route. With all these factors in mind, Mr. Angelo said a centrally-located super box for mail pick-up is the best option in the interest of public safety.
Before the Victoria Street North reconstruction began, there were public meetings to discuss the project. Out of the meetings came recommendations to upgrade the road to urban standards, which included elimination of the gravel shoulder and installation of curbs and gutters, the municipal engineer explained. Unfortunately, because of an oversight, removal of individual mailboxes and the replacement super boxes were not in the drawings, “but it was always our intent to remove mailboxes and replace them with community mailboxes, as per urban standards,” he added.
However, Coun. Morand said he hates it when the municipality “surprises people and takes things away,” and questioned “how many people were killed by mailboxes” in Canada last year.
Coun. Ted Watts countered after 30 years in the safety business, “I will not endorse anything that puts people in jeopardy.”
Committee chairman, Cal Morgan noted although he agreed with Coun. Morand on the surprise issue, “the safety issue is our main concern and should not be ignored.”