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Canada Post says temporary mailboxes may be needed this winter to protect worker safety. (CBC )

A Canada Post plan to set up temporary mailboxes in St. John's neighbourhoods with icy sidewalks should not have to be implemented, a city official says.

Public works director Paul Mackey said council's new budget, which included a significant increase in funds dedicated to clearing notoriously blocked sidewalks, should answer some of Canada Post's concerns about its staff's safety.

Canada Post has warned some customers that icy sidewalks this winter may mean a suspension of door-to-door delivery, in areas that include New Cove Road, Portugal Cove Road and Topsail Road. Customers would be serviced by temporary community mailboxes.

It's a move designed to protect letter carriers.

"They're walking alongside a lot of fast moving traffic," Canada Post's Denise Corra told The Canadian Press this weekend. "We know an accident in that situation may not just be a twisted ankle. It could be a very serious accident."

But Paul Mackey says community mailbox sites come with their own set of problems.

"There has to be parking available if you're going to have community mailboxes," Mackey told CBC News Tuesday.

"On many of these streets, it's going to be very difficult, if not impossible, to find a safe location to put temporary mailboxes," he said. "It may not turn out to be very practical in terms of doing it that way."

Mackey said Canada Post - which set up a similar system for some St. John's customers last March - had approached city hall with its concerns last fall.

Weeks later, city council agreed to spend $450,000 for three new sidewalk plows, and has committed an extra $250,000 to pay for crews and supplies for an expanded sidewalk service.

Mackey said he hopes those improvements will address some of the safety concerns.

 

 

With files from The Canadian Press