Saturday, October 17, 2015

Community Mailboxes Come to Selkirk

For those who have read my blog, I mostly talk about health care issues from a personal perspective.  In between our frequent medical adventures, speaking engagements, and volunteer activities I actually have a job.  Apparently I still need to pay the bills.

My job is actually a lot of fun.  I get to travel a bit and see the country.  I work with a great group of people who are dedicated and provide me with a lot of support.  For the past 5 years I have been one of the project managers working on upgrading Canada Post's infrastructure.  A $2 B investment.  Last year I had the privilege of joining the team that is bringing Community Mailboxes to nearly 5 millions customers across Canada.  Up until now most of my work has been behind the scenes and much of our work would go undetected by our customers.  The Community Mailbox (CMB) Project is the complete opposite.  It effects how customers get their mail and is very visible to most Canadians.

This fall our CMB project comes to Selkirk.  We "Go Live" on October 26.  Selkirk is a mere ten minutes from my home.  These are my neighbours.

Recent Installation of A Community Mailbox in Selkirk, MB
It has been fun working close to home.  A couple of weeks ago I joined one of our delivery services officers and did some inspections of the sites that are being installed in Selkirk.  It was really nice to get out of the office and do some "real" work.  We had a chance encounter with two of our customers who were out for a walk on a beautiful fall day.  Two of our seniors who were very interested in what we were doing.  As many are well aware, there are many people who are concerned about the loss of door to door delivery. The reaction from these two ladies was typical of the response we get.  The first lady was upset with us.  She explained how inconvenient the new boxes would be.  She went on to state how it was so easy for her now to just stick her hand out the door on a cold day and grab her mail.  She didn't need to get out of her pyjamas or even go outside.  It was so easy.  What she said is exactly true.  Door to door delivery is very convenient.  We understand, for some this change is less than ideal.  Without getting much of a reaction from us, the first lady walked away and i didn't get the impression she was very pleased with us.  The second lady had a much different response.  She was asking how the new boxes worked, and inquired when she might be getting her keys etc.  We showed her the new mailbox and briefly explained how she would get her mail.  She also asked about parcels.  We also showed her the parcel compartment and the process she would need to extract parcels from the box.  She seemed very curious and very intrigued.  We could tell she was kind of excited about something new.  It was very positive response.  So in our chance encounter we had one "for" and one "against".  Very typical of what we see.

I think many people who are against the changes we are proposing do not realize the phenomenal cost of delivering mail door to door.  Is it a service we (as Canada Post) would like to continue and maintain a very proud tradition.  Is it possible to continue? Absolutely.  Is it feasible?  Definitely not.  I do not want to get into the financial models or data that shows how costly door to door delivery is.  If you are interested, there are some good papers on the topic published by the Conference Board of Canada and the Macdonald-Laurier Institute.  No one argues that ending door to door delivery and implementing CMBs will save Canada Post millions of dollars.  Taxpayer dollars that can be spent on roads, health care, and many other worth while programs.  For those who think taxpayers should subsidize Canada Post I would propose that we agree to disagree.

For my neighbours in Selkirk; I hope the transition goes very smoothly.  There is a great team of folks in our call centre who are willing to answer your questions and a great deployment team who will ensure everything transitions smoothly.  One comment we hear over and over again is that this may be a great opportunity to go to your CMB, pick up your mail, and say "hi" to your neighbours.

Donald Lepp
Project Manager, Canada Post
CPC 2.0 - CMB Project


  1. Ours was one of the first "old" neighbourhoods in Canada to move to CMBs. I have to say it really has been a non-event. It's less than half the distance it is to our former nearest Canada Post drop box, and the perfect distance to work on leash training for our puppy (at least for now). I was quite annoyed with my husband when he kvetched and moaned about having to walk "all that way" to get the mail, completely forgetting that for the first several years we were married, I walked a lot farther than that - hauling children along - to pick it up from our P.O. Box 5 days a week. He seems to have a lot of those type of memory lapses.

  2. We implemented St Albert and Sherwood Park in August; then Edmonton 4 & 8 in September. We had lots of challenges in Alberta. Glad yours went reasonably smooth.

  3. Hi Donald, well we never did have home delivery even in the 2 cities we lived in. The best delivery is what we have now. On the main floor of our 3 strorey condo we have our mail box. LOL
    You may have worked with my brother-in-law Murray H.????