FORT LAWRENCE – Two dozen Fort Lawrence residents will have uninterrupted rural mail delivery after working out a solution with Canada Post to move their mailboxes to safer locations.
“We have moved our mailbox a few yards up the road and that’s OK with the post office,” Fort Lawrence Road resident David Trenholm said Friday. “It sure beats the heck out of driving into Amherst to get the mail, especially in winter.”
Canada Post sent out notices to 24 customers on the road earlier this week informing them rural mail delivery will cease after Nov. 2 because their mailboxes were deemed to be in unsafe locations.
The post office had looked to place a community mailbox in the area, but could not get any landowners to give the corporation permission to use their land. As a result, the customers would have to make the eight-kilometre trip into Amherst.
Canada Post spokesperson John Caines confirmed an arrangement in the community will allow mail delivery to continue.
“We went out and met with customers Thursday with our delivery planner and we’re able to find places on people’s properties where we could move their mailboxes,” Caines said. “They better understood the situation and it looks like people will maintain their service on their properties.”
Caines said 22 of the 24 have had their situations resolved and messages have been left for the other two to contact the post office to see if a solution can be determined.
“Our main focus is to maintain delivery on people’s property,” Caines said. “We were able to go back through the process again to help them understand the issues we have and help them move their boxes to a safer location.”
Caines said several issues are looked at when assessing safety. Traffic volume and the speed of traffic is looked at along with sightlines and stopping distances and whether the carrier’s vehicle can get all four of its wheels onto the shoulder of the road.
“This road has two solid lines down the middle, which means no one can pass. What happens is when the carrier pulls over to deliver the mail and can’t get all four wheels off the pavement the traffic coming behind has to move over into the other lane. If something’s coming the other way it’s a dangerous situation,” he said.
Trenholm said he can’t drive into Amherst to get his mail because of his back. He said the first idea of relocating the mailbox across the road would not work because he is often forced to use crutches because of his back.
He was able to group his mailbox with a neighbour’s.
Caines said the need to move the boxes is strictly safety related. The road often has fast-moving traffic and it’s not safe for carriers to move their vehicles completely off the road when delivering the mail. It’s those addresses that were required to move their mailboxes.
Trenholm continues to question the motive, but understand concerns about the speed of traffic. It’s something that’s been a longtime concern for residents.
“If the Mounties were to sit out here and get traffic to travel the speed they’re supposed to we wouldn’t have this problem,” Trenholm said.
Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley MP Scott Armstrong said he received several complaints from Fort Lawrence residents and is happy it has been resolved.
“Canada Post is a Crown corporation at arms length to government and this mailbox review is the result of a court decision due to occupational health and safety concerns from the employees’ union. Canada Post was mandated by the courts to review over 800,000 mailboxes in Canada. The review is 80 per cent complete,” Armstrong said in an email to the Amherst Daily News.