Nfld. & Labrador

Lack of snowclearing at community mailboxes prompts complaints to union

A local union president says he has been receiving complaints from people unable to access their community mailboxes, after a record-breaking snowfall Friday.
Craig Dyer, a local union president, says he's been receiving complaints from the public about a lack of snowclearing in front of community mailboxes. (Mark Cumby/CBC)

Some people in the St. John's area are complaining about the lack of snowclearing at their new community mailboxes, following the first major snowfall of the season.

Almost 30 centimetres of snowfall fell on Friday — a record-breaking amount for the date, besting a previous high set in 1949. 

Craig Dyer, president of the St. John's branch of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, said he has received about a dozen complaints about the lack of snowclearing in front of the community mailboxes.

CBC's Azzor Rezori climbs over a snowbank in front of this community mailbox, following record-breaking snowfall in St. John's Friday. (Azzo Rezori/CBC)

"I'm getting all kinds of complaints. I'm getting complaints from our seniors community, our disabled community, people not having access to the boxes because the snow hasn't been removed," Dyer told CBC News.

Local governments are responsible for clearing snow from the streets and sidewalks, while Canada Post is responsible for clearing the snow around the community mailboxes.

It's only going to be time before somebody gets seriously injured.- Craig Dyer

That snowclearing work is contracted out to local companies, who have 24 to 48 hours to complete the work.

As a union president, Dyer is opposed to the community mailboxes because they mean jobs lost for his members.

However, Dyer said there are also concerns about public safety, as people try to access their mailboxes in the changing winter weather conditions.

"St. John's, Mount Pearl, Kilbride [were] not set up to have these community mailboxes. It's only going to be time before somebody gets seriously injured," he said Tuesday.

"Just this week, it's been the ice. We have a warm day, we have a quick freeze and there's ice everywhere. People are slipping and falling."

CBC News contacted Canada Post for comment, but received no reply by Tuesday evening.

Canada Post contracts out snowclearing in front of community mailboxes to private companies. (Mark Cumby/CBC)


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