Safety review to cut off rural mail delivery in Fort Lawrence

Darrell Cole
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24 customers will have to go to Amherst post office

A safety review by Canada Post means 24 homes on the Fort Lawrence Road will lose roadside mail delivery. Because space could not be found for a community mailbox, those residents will have to drive into Amherst to get their mail after Nov. 2. 

FORT LAWRENCE – Two dozen Fort Lawrence residents have learned they will have to drive eight kilometres to pick up their mail after Nov. 2.

“Mailboxes in the area were reviewed two years ago. What we’ve been trying to do since then is find a location for a community mailbox. We’ve contacted landowners and looked at about 10 or 15 sites all we heard was no,” Canada Post spokeswoman Anick Losier said Wednesday. “The further we got from these customers , the closer we were getting to the post office in Amherst. When we got to 1.5 kilometres from the post office we felt it would be easier to bring the customers to the post office. On average it’s five to seven kilometres.”

Losier said 24 customers on the Fort Lawrence Road are impacted by the change and they have all been notified by mail that the last day of rural mail delivery will be Nov. 2.

In return, she said, customers will have a free mailbox at the Amherst post office, however, those affected will have to change their mailing address. The post office will provide residents with free change of address cards and will offer free redirection of mail for a year.

“It’s unfortunate, but we tried to find a closer site. We need to have permission to  use a site and could not get that,” she said.

Losier said the post office was forced in 2008 to begin looking at the safety of rural mailboxes as a result of a health and safety complaint. She said the corporation understands the frustration of residents, but said the company is following federal legislation.

“It was becoming a safety issue for our employees, so with the assistance of an independent expert we developed the safety assessment,” she said. “We would much rather keep delivery the way it is, but it’s a legal requirement that we must satisfy.”

She said the assessments are happening across the country with about 80 per cent of 840,000 mailboxes having been completed to date. The evaluations in Amherst started in 2010.

She said a number of options have been looked at including moving mailboxes further from the road or grouping them with neighbours’. However, she said, in some cases other measures are necessary.

Area county councillor Gerald Read is not happy with what’s happening and has written Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley MP Scott Armstrong.

“This is absolutely wrong,” said Read, who also fought the erection of a community mailbox in Upper Nappan last year. “This is less about safety and more about financial reasons.”

He doesn’t feel the corporation worked hard enough to find an alternative and called the move “autocratic and lacking compassion.”

Edith Helm, one of Read’s opponents in Saturday’s election, said a number of her neighbours are affected.

“There are a lot seniors here who don’t have the ability to drive to Amherst,” Helm said. “It’s going to create a lot of difficulty for a lot of people and it’s going to cause a lot of hardship. It’s just not fair.”

Losier said the corporation could offer service to those who are disabled or face other hardships. She said those who may be eligible can call the post office.

Organizations: Canada Post

Geographic location: Amherst, Fort Lawrence Road, Upper Nappan

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Recent comments

  • Dara
    October 18, 2012 - 18:56

    I feel sorry the people of Fort Lawrence and I think this is just the beginning of the end for most rural mail box delivery.I think we all need to join together,because even if your area is not targeted now,it very well could be tomorrow.

  • Joe O'Byrnre
    October 18, 2012 - 13:24

    It is gratifying that Gerald Read is so concerned about the people in Fort Lawrence. when did he send the letter about Fort Lawrence To Scott Armstrong? Surely it had nothing to do with Municipal election on Oct.20. He has known about this since 2010. He was probably to busy with the CREDA FILE which he seems to know nothing about or so he says.

  • Dara Legere
    October 18, 2012 - 10:58

    I find it ironic that this issue was raised by the rural mail carriers in the name of safety. These are the same people that you will see sitting on the passenger side of their car with one foot on the gas pedal while driving along the highway so they won't have to get out of their car to put your mail in the box. You will also see them driving up the wrong side of the road to deliver mail. And they have the nerve to raise a safety issue on the placement of your mail box. It might be a good idea to get these "safe drivers" off the road. Canada Post should look at the delivery method rather than the location of rural mail boxes.

  • Don Smith
    October 18, 2012 - 10:32

    Rediculous for these tax payers to travel this distance for their mail, a local solution should be sought. I suggest an inquiry with NS Dept. of Tourism about using the Welcome Centre in Fort Lawrence would be in order. Canada Post managers must feel that school bus pick-up of our children, newspaper & flyer delivery drivers are not being treated by their employers in a safe work place environment.

  • Fuzzy Bear
    October 18, 2012 - 07:55

    Well there is a fix for this type of bureaucratic stupidity! Get a computer and start using email as your medium to stay in contact with your friends and family. It is so much faster coming from them to you, takes only seconds to return a reply mail, never gets delivered to your neighbour, nor is it soaking wet when you get it and finally its never opened! Then use the flyer zone to view all the flyers that come to your house on a weekly basis (well the ones you wish to see anyways). Next, do all your banking and bill paying on line and finally forget about all the junk mail you receive on a weekly basis because it is after all just junk anyways. Helps you go green and save our envioronemt by not having them. Most companies that send them out such as A&W and KFC give the same deals to walkins. Canada Post buracrats are just hammering another nail in their own coffin so PLEASE let them do it. The sooner they put themselves in the same catagory as dinosaurs the better!!! These pompous A**holes deserve to be just where they are headed and that is into the extinct catagory!!! Then lets see them wail, knash their teeth and cry hard times when their stupidy finally catches up with them!

  • Jack Frost
    October 18, 2012 - 07:00

    I believe it was the carrier from Tatamagouche-Truro that started all this BS. I guess rural mail delivery will go the way of the dodo bird, well for that matter Canada Post too! I can't help but wonder how this sits with the putz that started it all. I'll bet he thinks its a big joke, after decades of delivery, people have to drive to town to get their mail. Unbelievable!

  • Realistic
    October 18, 2012 - 06:53

    Federal stupidity right here. Could they explain exactly what is so dangerous about these mailboxes? I have never heard about mailboxes causing injury. So they'll send 24 people on a 16 kilometer round trip to downtown Amherst every day to get their mail. Yes, that sure sounds like a much better solution for everybody...

  • Postmaster
    October 17, 2012 - 22:01

    How about having a blimp fly over and drop the mail to each customer's home? If no one wants the mailbox on their property, and they don't want to drive into Amherst post office, I see thin air as the only alternative.

    • County man
      October 18, 2012 - 18:44

      Comments from people like Postermaster,is scary, complete no brainer of a comment.If this person was living on the Fort Lawrence road,I bet they would be talking different. The hunderthousand plus a year,postal person that make these decision,have no idea what a move like this has on rural people.

  • Fed-Up
    October 17, 2012 - 21:32

    I have never in all my life, heard so much foolish talk about safty.Now let me get this stright,two dozen people have to travel to Amherst post office to get their mail.Now we have 24 vehicles on the road,in all kinds of weather,where before we had one vehicle(mail delivery person)So 24 vehicles on the highway,in all kinds of weather is better than 1.Not to mention the hardship and extra cost people are now going to have to incur. We all know ,it is not so much about safty,but in fact, it's the dollar

  • David
    October 17, 2012 - 21:12

    I'll take the over-paid postal workers job... I'm sure many others would as well. Delivering the mail has been done for for hundreds of years! It's a sad day when people are so safety conscious that basic needs in life get cut off because some desk monkey deemed it unsafe.