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Local seniors at neighbour house brace for mail cuts

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Juanita Aquirre, left, and Florchita Bautista, right, standing outside the South Vancouver Neighbourhood House. Photo by Erin Boe.
Juanita Aquirre, left, and Florchita Bautista, right, standing outside the South Vancouver Neighbourhood House. Photo by Erin Boe.

Members of a community centre in South Vancouver are speaking out about looming cuts to postal services and how it will affect local seniors’ ability to pick up their mail.

Late last year, Canada Post announced it will be cutting door-to-door mail delivery services and instead are integrating community mailboxes around the country.

Seniors fear falling outside, mailbox thefts

“[Community mailboxes] are going to be a challenge for those who have mobility challenges,” said Joan Wright, coordinator of the seniors hub at the South Vancouver Neighbourhood House. “A number of seniors in South Vancouver are unable to get out of their homes. They are afraid to use the bus, they’re afraid to walk outside for fear of falling.”

Wright noted that seniors who are afraid to leave their houses because they’re worried about mailbox thefts and muggings will be impacted the most.

Florchita Bautista and Juanita Aquirre also questioned how the cuts will affect their fellow seniors.

“Most of the seniors cannot go out,” said Aquirre, 75. “Not even to the common mailbox outside. I think it will affect them because their mobility is already impaired.”

Bautista, 77, who lives in an apartment, said seniors with limited transportation will also have difficulty retrieving mail.

“I can still go down and get my mail. But for those who are already in assisted living, many of them are not able to go out anymore unless they have transportation,” she said.

Neighbourhood house considering delivery service

Wright said the neighbourhood house is looking into potential solutions to the Canada Post cuts.

“One of the things that we are looking at is a one-day-a-week delivery service,” she said. “Many [seniors] are saying that their bills come on the same day and if they had a one-day-a-week service, that would be an appropriate alternative to this dilemma.”

The cuts to postal services will likely begin later this year.

Reported by Erin Boe

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