Safety concerns put mail delivery in doubt in rural Prince George neighbourhood

·2 min read

Joyce Miller and her husband have lived in their 9100-block North Kelly Road home for 50 years and for 45 of them, Canada Post has delivered mail to their door.

But depending on the outcome of a review in answer to concerns about safety for carriers working in that area, the service could soon come to an end.

On Dec. 18, the Millers and 29 other households received notices saying door-to-door delivery will be put on hold starting the next day while the review is carried out. Since then, they have had to go to the post office on Fifth Avenue downtown, a 15 to 20 minute drive one-way, to collect their mail.

With both Miller and her husband well into their 70s, they have been housebound due to the COVID pandemic and have relied on a neighbour to pick up their mail. And at their ages, Miller said they have yet to learn how to pay their bills online.

"All my bills are always mailed to me and then I phone the bank and I pay them," Miller said.

Traffic congestion, vehicle speed, and the street width were raised as the points of trouble in the notice. Miller conceded speeding along the stretch, where the limit is 50 km/h, has been a problem, but also noted children walk along the road to attend nearby Springwood elementary school.

Miller suspects much of the problem lies with some changes she maintains were made between the time Springwood was closed in 2010 and reopened in 2018, namely that signs warning drivers they were entering a 30 km/h school zone were taken down.

"When they reopened Springwood and I questioned why there were no school signs there, they said there never were and we don't need them there," Miller said. "And I said, 'well, my youngest daughter went to Grade One in Springwood school and she's 50, so if you go back and look you'll see that there were school signs on North Kelly."

Miller prefers to see a return of service but if that doesn't happen, she noted that there are superboxes on Zral Road just a two-minute walk away from where she lives.

"We could go across and get our mail," Miller said.

Either way, Miller hopes something better than having to go downtown will be in place sooner than later.

In an email, Canada Post spokesperson Nicole Lecompte said it's expected the review will be completed shortly.

"We apologize to our customers for this inconvenience and thank them for their patience while we finalize our review," Lecompte said.

Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince George Citizen