Edmonton senior digs in to stamp out Canada Post community mailbox

Ken Pudetz is staging a sit-in against Canada Post. Alone. In his own front yard.

'This is where I am enjoying my life for the next three weeks,' says Ken Pudetz

Ken Pudetz, 76, plans to sit in his front yard for three weeks to stop Canada Post from building a community mailbox in his yard. (CBC)

Ken Pudetz is staging a sit-in against Canada Post.

Alone. In his own front yard.

The 76-year old is upset - he says he's too old to get angry - about a decision to put a community mailbox in front of his Mill Woods home.

On Saturday, he went out for groceries and came home to find a huge hole dug by an excavator. On either side of the hole, there were mounds of dirt.

Canada Post plans to install the mailbox within three weeks.

Pudetz plans to fight back.

It took him five hours to shovel the dirt back into the hole. He spread cardboard over top, calling the hole a safety hazard. 

Pudetz said he phoned the mayor and someone there told him: "Well, gee whiz, we can't do anything. Because Canada Post has special exemptions from the law.

"I voted for the mayor and the councilmen to represent me in this city," he said, "to protect my rights from bullies."

He admits he doesn't actually own the piece of property where the mailbox will go. That first few feet off the sidewalk belong to the city.

But he's the one who will have to shovel the snow so people can get their mail.

CBC News asked Pudetz if he would support the community mailbox if it was somewhere else on the street.

'I said, 'You will not!'

"What a wonderful question," he said. "Guess what they told me on the phone? They were going to move them. Across the road to my neighbour's yard. I said, 'You will not! You're not going to put my mailbox on somebody else's property.'

"I don't want my neighbour being my enemy. All my neighbours here, they all like me."

Pudetz said many people on his street don't want community mailboxes.

"The whole thing is so stupid," he said. "And my neighbours are very angry. I don't get angry ... because I'm too old for angry."

His fight isn't with postal workers, whom he calls "a class to themselves."

"God bless the post office," he said.

As a young man, he lived in a small town and actually worked sorting mail … for Canada Post.

"I used to take mail out of the bags and put it into little pigeonholes for all the little communities down the railroad tracks. And was it ever hard work. It was so hard, I enlisted in the armed forces."

But he still thinks community mailboxes are stupid.

Canada Post said it tries to listen to feedback from residents, but ultimately the boxes must be accessible to the people they will serve.

For now, Pudetz has put a lawn chair on the cardboard over the former hole he filled in.

"And this is where I am enjoying my life for the next three weeks," he said. "Or until I die."


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