Quebec mailbox battle latest in Canada-wide war

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Is there such a thing as NIMFY-ism?

The long-established NIMBY (“not in my backyard”) movement engenders plenty of public scorn, but a very specific “not in my front yard” groundswell is taking place all over Canada, as people and municipalities fight Canada Post’s community mailboxes.

The latest battle is occurring in Dorval, Que., where one resident is taking creative, if not petulant, steps to prevent placement of a mailbox on his lawn.

When Hans Dybka heard that Canada Post planned to build three large boxes on the public part of his front lawn — despite his objections — he sprang into action.

He first dumped a huge mound of dirt on the proposed building site, and surrounded it with “Save door-to-door (delivery)” signs, although it’s not clear if his fight is really against Canada Post’s plans to eliminate door-to-door delivery, or just not wanting a mailbox on his lawn.

And if Canada Post can’t figure out how to move a pile of dirt, he has a backup plan: he’s already obtained a construction permit to widen his driveway, since community boxes can’t be within three metres of one.

Homeowners hate these mailboxes for all kinds of reasons. Aside from the inconvenience and ugliness, they’re concerned about traffic and pollution from idling cars as people stop and grab their mail.

Some complain that people also dump unwanted junk mail on the ground around the boxes, leaving a mess on their lawns.

Individual residents aside, some entire cities are also fighting Canada Post. A legal battle is brewing in Hamilton, Ont., which just passed a new bylaw requiring the agency to pay $200 to apply for each community mailbox location. Canada Post says it doesn’t have to obey, since the federal Canada Post Corporation Act supersedes a municipal bylaw.

Montreal recently demanded a moratorium on community mailbox placement and joined a federal court challenge against Canada Post’s plan to end door-to-door delivery.

The tony Westmount suburb is considering just rejecting all permits to build the boxes and Pembroke, Ont. is weighing a bylaw to ban them as well.

In other cities, including Calgary and St. John’s, residents are expressing irritation with their city councils because they aren’t putting up a fight.

Placement has already begun, but more battles seem inevitable. As strange as it may sound, there’s more interesting mail-related news to come.

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