Canada Post super mailbox gets in the way of driveway plans

Richard Massey says the community mailbox will abut the mouth of his driveway, and that crews severed his sprinkler system. The city and Canada Post will go to court at the end of May over mailbox locations.
Canada Post plans to put a super mailbox at the mouth of Richard Massie's new driveway. Both Massie and Coun. Terry Whitehead say this is an example of why the city of Hamilton needs a bylaw to work with the corporation on where to put the mailboxes. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

Richard Massey finds it hard to hide his annoyance when it comes to Canada Post these days.

When the Mountain resident first starts talking about the super mailbox the corporation is putting on the edge of his property, his voice is slow and measured. But the more he recounts the story, the more the frustration shows through.

"Canada Post has shown us no care, no consideration, no courtesy," he said. "It's been since November. To me, it's a case of a large corporation bullying a private citizen."

Massey lives on Scenic Drive with his wife and three children. He has a city permit to install a new driveway. The current one is in an unsafe location. But Canada Post is installing a community mailbox for 30 homes right at the mouth of the future entrance.

Richard Massey estimates it will cost about $1,800 to repair his sprinkler system. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

Massey also has shallow sprinkler system lines under the road allowance, which were there when he moved in four years ago. He believes the previous homeowner had a permit to install them. When Canada Post contractors dug a rectangle of earth for a concrete pad, they severed the sprinkler system.

Massey's local councillor, Terry Whitehead of Ward 8, points to the situation as a case for the city's new bylaw.

In April, council amended its Roads Installation-Equipment Bylaw to dictate that Canada Post pay the city $200 per location to help site mailboxes on city land. Canada Post says the federal legislation mandating that it deliver the mail trumps municipal law. The mailboxes are part of a nationwide plan to phase out urban door-to-door mail delivery.

The two sides will appear in court the week of May 25. Until then, Canada Post continues installing 1,000 mailboxes for 36,000 homes on the Mountain. By the time the case appears in court, the installations will likely be done.

I'm not a big supporter of people breaching laws.- Coun. Terry Whitehead

Canada Post says it did extensive consultation before installing the boxes. It's also adjusted the location of 30 per cent of them based on resident and city feedback, said spokesperson Jon Hamilton.

The corporation checks with utility companies before it digs, Hamilton said on Saturday.

And when mailboxes are against driveways, "we're able to make a change in many cases," he said. Canada Post will move the mailbox at the Massey property, he said, and it plans to fix the sprinkler system.

Massey has been trying to see it moved since November. Previous efforts seemed to fall on deaf ears, he said.

Whitehead says it's worth the effort

"When we asked Canada Post, they insisted on this spot."

Whitehead has been answering resident calls and going out to stop contractors. Ward 8 residents have also stood in holes to stop installations.

Whitehead says he's not asking people to do that. As for social media criticism that he should worry about other matters, he says this one is important.

Without a judicial decision, "our bylaw is enforceable," which means Canada Post is breaching it, he said.

"I'm not a big supporter of people breaching laws."

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