Thursday, August 26, 2010

Canada Post tells double amputee he must move his mailbox to comply with new regulations

From The Toronto Sun:

SIMCOE, Ont. – Rules are rules, says Canada Post, even for double-amputee Tom Thompson, who will have to move his mailbox at least 150 feet to comply with new regulations regarding box placement.

“I guess it’s a safety issue for their drivers,” said Thompson, who lives in Simcoe, Ont. “I guess it’s not a safety issue for me when I have to wheel through a foot of snow down the road to get my mail.”

Thompson has lost both legs to complications of diabetes. He says the situation is “nuts” because while he has a Decou Road address, his home and mailbox front onto Willow Wood Drive — a short dead-end street with 11 homes.

However, Thompson has been asked to move his mailbox because it is within 70 metres of a stop sign. Even though there is little room for motorists to speed on Willow Wood Drive, Andy Paterson, a spokesperson for Canada Post, says there is still a serious danger to Canada Post drivers.

The problem, Paterson says, is that a collision may occur between a vehicle passing a Canada Post delivery person at Thompson’s mailbox and a motorist turning the corner from Decou onto Willow Wood at high speed.

“Every mailbox has to meet the safety criteria,” Paterson said. “We cannot deliver to a mailbox that doesn’t meet the criteria. It has to be that way to be fair across the country. What rules apply in Norfolk County have to apply as well in Lunenberg, Nova Scotia.”

Canada Post has given Thompson three options. He can relocate his mailbox 150 feet to the south on the property of a neighbour; he can move his mailbox to the north on Decou Road, which is a heavily travelled arterial road; or he can get a box at the Simcoe Post Office.

Mailbox location in rural areas became an issue when the Canadian Union of Postal Workers negotiated contract carriers out of existence and brought the job in-house.

CUPW has complained that rural delivery is ergonomically unsafe for lone drivers. As a result, many delivery vehicles now carry two people — one to drive and one to fill mailboxes.

CUPW has also made an issue of the safety of rural delivery routes.

Canada Post has responded by rating every rural mailbox in the country for safety. The crown corporation has warned it will suspend delivery to boxes that don’t meet its criteria.