British Columbia

Community super mailbox theft forces Richmond man to travel 15km to check mail

Don Anderson has to make a 15-kilometre round trip to check his mail because, for the second time in six months, his community mailbox is out of order due to vandalism and theft.

Don Anderson worries he won't get his transit ballot in time because of an out-of-order mailbox

Richmond resident Don Anderson's community mailbox has been broken into, and for the second time in six months, Canada Post is asking him to make a round trip of 15 kilometres to retrieve his mail. (Tricia Lo)

Richmond, B.C. resident Don Anderson says he's being forced to make a 15-kilometre round trip to check his mail because, for the second time in six months, his community super mailbox is out of order due to vandalism and theft. 

"My parents both died, and we have death certificates, and probate and all that stuff, and it's not coming," Anderson said.

Anderson typically checked his mail every evening at the community mailbox a block and a half away from his home, but now has to travel to a mail delivery depot on River Road.

According to the notice posted on the out-of-order mailbox, the pick-up facility is only open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. PT on regular business days.    

The Canada Post notice says it plans to install a new model "in the next few weeks," — but until then Anderson will have to retrieve his mail from the local delivery centre.

"If I'm going to go every day, it either has to be by taxi or by public transit. Taxi is expensive. Public transit takes time," said Anderson, who doesn't own a car.

Waiting on transit ballots

Anderson says he and the other 26 households that use this community mailbox are also still waiting to receive ballots for the Lower Mainland's ongoing transportation plebiscite.  

Don Anderson's community mailbox was just a block and a half away from his home. (Tricia Lo)

"The other question here is, with the referendum in particular, how many other boxes are in this shape in the municipality? How many more people may be disenfranchised, or may not get their ballots?"

In a statement to the CBC, Canada Post wrote:

"No one is without daily mail in Metro Vancouver. Should a community mailbox be temporarily out of service, mail remains available each day to customers at the local depot. Should there be any concerns in getting their mail, customers should contact us so we can make special arrangements."

It did not say how many super mailboxes in the Lower Mainland are currently out of order.

Surrey RCMP and Canada Post host forum

Officers from the Surrey RCMP's economic crime unit and Canada Post Security and Investigation Services will host a community forum on Wednesday night to advise on fraud and mailbox theft.  

They aim to teach residents how to recognize, report and protect against mail theft.

The forum runs from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Cloverdale Recreation Centre, 6188 176 Street in Surrey.  

To hear the full interview with Don Anderson, click the audio labelled: Don Anderson on community mailbox theft.


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