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OPINION: Super boxes are super duds

Community mailboxes remain in use in Charlottetown even though Canada Post ordered a freeze on their installation following the Trudeau Liberal victory in the October 2015 federal election. 

(Guardian File Photo)
Community mailboxes remain in use in Charlottetown even though Canada Post ordered a freeze on their installation following the Trudeau Liberal victory in the October 2015 federal election. (Guardian File Photo) - The Guardian

Switch to weekly home delivery, or daily delivery to free box located where people want them

BY OLE HAMMARLUND

GUEST OPINION

Now we know. It’s an official stalemate between installation of super boxes and home delivery. Some Canadians get serviced by one, and some by the other. Clearly, it’s not fair.

I am lucky myself. While I have a mailbox, it is located inside my condo building, so I have the privileged pleasure of opening my box in inside comfort.

I am an architect and as a designer, super boxes were always a flawed concept. Why would you expect people who had door-to-door delivery, or a P.O. box at a post office to consider a super box as an advance?

Clearly any outside box, subject to Canadian weather, is a bad idea and a step back in service. It is like the government deciding that instead of an attached heated garage for the car, everyone should use a super parking lot located in the middle of nowhere.

P.O. boxes are OK, but for God’s sake, locate them inside. This could be in post offices, gas stations, convenience stores, drugstores or super markets. Anywhere that people like to go to anyway and where the business sees it as an advantage to attract customers. Anywhere but outside.

In the good old days, daily delivery was important. Those were the days when a letter posted in the morning would be delivered the same afternoon, or mere recently the following day. Those days are long gone. A locally posted letter takes a week to get delivered next door, so why the fuzz about daily delivery? While I do get daily delivery myself, it’s mostly junk mail. Seems to me that a change to weekly delivery would make little difference to customers, but would make a huge difference to the bottom line at Canada Post. So here is my humble proposal for postal service in Canada:

Change delivery to private homes and roadside mailboxes to once a week, or let recipients choose instead a free P.O. box at their chosen location with daily delivery. This gives customers a choice and Canada Post opportunities for significant savings. The super boxes were free, in a failed attempt to make them popular. In my opinion, mailboxes, at where ever popular spot they are located, should be free also. This accomplishes a couple of things aside from popularity: First of all, Canada Post will have an easy place to deliver junk mail to, one of their few profit-making ventures. Secondly, the popular courier service that now delivers the latest Amazon gadget or medical marijuana typically requires you to stay home and sign for the delivery. Sometimes I spend the entire day waiting for a courier only to find that the delivery won’t happen until next day. No such problem with a P.O. box, and Canada Post retains its treasured monopoly for delivery to that box.

So switch to weekly home delivery or daily delivery to a free box located where people want them. Give people the choice.

- Ole Hammarlund, Charlottetown, Hammarlund and Lips Architects

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