Ottawa residents can't get mail after Canada Post boxes freeze

The controversial community mailboxes that many Ottawa residents didn’t want in the first place are now causing more headaches for Canada Post and its customers.

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It turns out the mailboxes aren’t suited for winter life in Ottawa. Hundreds of them have been frozen shut for days.

Gwyneth Davidson, who lives in the suburb of Nepean, says she had been struggling to open her mailbox since last week.

“I have seen people punching the mailboxes, kicking the mailboxes, shaking the mailboxes, and just pounding with their fists on the door trying to break up the ice that is inside the lock,” she told CTV Ottawa.

Another Nepean resident, Jennifer Rayner, is among those unable to open their mailbox. “It’s driving me insane because there’s probably bills to pay,” she said.

Mail carrier Bill Kitts said he’s tried to help some residents by meeting them at the community mailbox and directly handing them their letters.

Canada Post has hired contractors to de-ice the mailbox locks, but it has been a slow process, taking up to an hour just to open one of them.

Canada Post says that out of 250,000 community mailboxes in Ottawa, only a few hundred have frozen this winter.

“The call centre is up and running,” said spokesperson Jon Hamilton, urging customers to be patient. “We have people ready to go out and work on boxes, they have been doing that.”

After complaining for three days, Marc Coallier says his mailbox was finally fixed. But the south Ottawa resident said he’s not convinced it won’t freeze again.

"This is Canada,” he said. “We got rain, ice. These boxes are made for Florida or Alabama, but not for Canada.”

Davidson said Canada Post needs to find a permanent solution – either fix the mailboxes or bring back home delivery.

The previous Conservative government’s controversial plan to end door-to-door mail delivery and install community boxes across the country was put on hold when the Liberals took power last October.

With a report from CTV Ottawa


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