CARP opposes in-progress roll out of community mailboxes in outdoor locations

Click here to read ” Two-tier postal service will favour multi-res” – Canadian Apartment Magazine, August 28, 2015

Canada Post excludes the lobby mailboxes in multi-residential buildings from its definition of home delivery and subsequent conclusion that fewer than one-third of Canadian addresses currently enjoy that perk. Nevertheless, critics of the phase-out of door-to-door mail delivery note that the practical result will make apartment dwellers the comparative winners of two-tier postal service.

“Most people who live in multi-residential buildings perceive that they’re getting home delivery,” says Susan Eng, vice president, advocacy, with CARP (Canadian Association of Retired Persons). “It’s secure; it’s lighted; it’s protected from the elements; it’s convenient. They don’t have to leave the building and walk or drive a distance.”

CARP opposes the in-progress rollout of so-called community mailboxes in outdoor locations to replace postal drops at individual single-family homes, and has urged municipal governments to resist installation of the unwieldy structures on civic property. The national, non-partisan, non-profit organization, which has approximately 300,000 members in more than 60 chapters throughout Canada, has expressed concerns that retrieving their mail from community mailboxes will be too physically taxing for many seniors, will force them to rely on others and/or will make them vulnerable to theft and violence.

Canada Post counters that approximately 10 million households have little to worry about.

“Anyone who currently gets their mail at an apartment, a condominium lobby box, a mailbox panel at seniors’ homes or at a community mailbox will not see any change to their postal delivery,” Deepak Chopra, Canada Post’s president and chief executive officer, wrote in a letter to Eng in January 2014. “While a generalization, we believe a large number of seniors will not see any change in their postal service.”

Real estate industry watchers are now contemplating how this might filter through to market demand.

“It hasn’t been expressed as an issue with any of my clients to date, but I think it’s coming,” predicts David Roman, a Toronto based sales representative with Royal LePage Real Estate Services, Johnston & Daniel Division. “While I wouldn’t yet refer to a condominium or rental building’s mailroom as a marketable amenity, anyone considering a move from a house to an apartment might be motivated to make that move sooner once they have to start travelling to get their mail. That’s not just the elderly or the disabled, that’s anyone dealing with the clear inconvenience. I can see that as the ‘last straw’, making easy access to the mailroom one of the features influencing the decision to move. ”

This emergent nominal edge over single-family homes comes as something of a novelty for Ontario’s multi-residential rental landlords and their tenants. Multi-residential property tax rates have historically been double to triple residential rates in many cities throughout the province.