A longtime rural resident, I use my 60 plus years of life learning to opinionate here and elsewhere on the “interweb” on everything from politics to environmental issues. A believer in reasonable discourse rather than unhelpful attacks I try to give positive input to the blogesphere, so feel free to comment upon rural issues or anything else posted here. But don’t be surprised if you comments get zapped if you are not polite in your replys.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Another hit for Rural Services?

A few weeks ago I posted a rant about the bizarre and often illogical demands by unnamed Postal workers for the relocation of many rural mail boxes in which I said :-“There is a strong possibility that this is just the thin end of the wedge, rural mail delivery will become a thing of the past, instead of one vehicle traveling a daily route with your mail we will have hundreds of folks driving down the road to get their mail from those “community” mailboxes, or even worse in to town to the post office to get our mail.”

It seems that I may well have been correct on that one, I did not know at the time that recommendations to lift the moratorium on rural post office closures had already be made. The Canada Post Corporation Strategic Review as presented Dec 2008 say this in its Executive Summary :-

“A review of the moratorium on rural post office closures is overdue. A new and more explicit mechanism should be developed to replace the moratorium with a clear set of rules and procedural guidelines that would both safeguard and respect the postal service needs of rural Canada but also allow Canada Post a degree of flexibility to deal with emergent issues in providing postal services in rural areas while respecting the service needs and expectations of rural Canadians.”

That sounds like typical double speak for lets close some rural post offices to me! I find it interesting that I can find no mention of the Senate report BEYOND FREEFALL: HALTING RURAL POVERTY – (available in PDF format here) wherein “The committee recommends that the federal government work with provincial, territorial and municipal governments to identify ways in which a range of existing and new services might be delivered through existing rural infrastructure points such as rural post offices.

They then go on to say:-

“Mail delivery to the end-of-lane – basically to a roadside box at the end of a property owner’s lane or driveway – has its origins at the turn of the 20th century. In many areas, these houses were once on quiet country roads. Now, these same residences are directly adjacent to relatively busy streets and highways, where there is a serious and likely potential for accidents and injury both to the people delivering the mail and to passing motorists. The Advisory Panel believes that the safety reviews undertaken by Canada Post were necessary and likely overdue, given the changes in traffic speed and road usage that have evolved over time. The government should permit Canada Post the latitude to give serious consideration to the efficacy and viability of maintaining this mode of mail delivery. “

Now that sounds like double speak for lets do away with rural delivery altogether, and by the way we will provide rural residents with a box at the nearest Post Office which has just been closed!!

This belief is reinforced by their “Recommendations” which says:-

“The government should replace the moratorium on rural post office closings with a new approach founded on a more realistic and practical definition of ‘rural’ and in the context of an updated and more operational rural policy.

The government should declare that the rural post is part of the USO, (Universal Service Obligation) and service expectations for rural Canada should be incorporated into the new Service Charter. “

It looks to me that our “Service Expectations” had best not be too high! I am pleased to hear that some municipalities are raising these issues with the minister at the AMO conference this week but my expectations of any change in attitude towards rural services coming out of those conversations is not high either.

No comments: