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EDITORIAL: Postal debate is important

You might think that in the email era, postal service would mean less and less to the people of Squamish. But that's clearly not the case.

You might think that in the email era, postal service would mean less and less to the people of Squamish. But that's clearly not the case.

Our letters pages this week feature three completely different perspectives on the issue, all of which share trepidation over possible changes to Canada Post's service.

In our letters pages, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers takes the issue of postal service and renews its call for Squamish to get door-to-door letter carriers. Given that Canada Post has done nothing but scale back home delivery for nearly 30 years now, we're not holding our breath on that one.

The Brackendale Farmers' Institute sees the loss of local post offices as part of a threat to the identity of Brackendale. While we don't think Brackendale has much to worry about in terms of being subsumed by Squamish, we agree that the move away from neighbourhood post offices and towards community mailboxes is a step in the wrong direction for several reasons.

Yes, community mailboxes allow residents to pick up mail whenever they want and to do so closer to home. But increased convenience for some is a nightmare for others - particularly those who live near the mailbox sites and deal with the mountains of carelessly discarded junk mail, vandalism and possible traffic snarls in residential areas that were never designed to be gathering points.

It's also a lot easier to steal mail from an unguarded community mailbox frequented by 50 people than a locked-down post office serving thousands.

On the intangible side, our post offices serve as our town squares and still function as an important draw for local traffic into our town centre. That alone should be an important consideration for our downtown-conscious council.

Another argument that comes into play is Squamish's identity. We agree that it's frustrating for people from Squamish to be identified as being from the non-existent town of Garibaldi Highlands to the outside world. But changing our antiquated postal divisions to Squamish (while letting people who want to identify themselves as a "distinct society" to do so) can be accomplished without letting community mailboxes into our community.

We look forward to Canada Post's community consultation on how it plans to move the mail here and to hearing what you want from your postal service. We also hope the Crown corporation and our elected officials will listen to what you have to say.

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