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New fee for mailboxes cost buyer, not builder

By: Viola Pruss

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Mar 06, 2013 06:00 am

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New charges to deliver mail to housing developments will cost buyers not homebuilders, says a local builder.

Canada Post put a $200 postal box activation fee in place on Jan. 1 to cover the cost of setting up community mailboxes in new residential developments.

That’s not one bill for every development, but one for every house.

“I guess it’s just another fee that gets tacked on. And it seemed that it’s the easiest place to hide fees with the builders because they have to add it to the cost of the house,” said Bob Meunier, president of Stoneshire Homes in St. Albert.

“It’s less revolt from the people when you stick it to the builder.”

Canada Post spokesperson Jon Hamilton said mail has been in decline in the last six years as more people move to electronic alternatives.

That causes Canada Post revenues to drop while new developments add up to 150,000 new homes to service every year.

Only a third of all households in Canada – about five million homes – receive door-to-door delivery. The rest find their mail in centrally located mailboxes, some rural mailboxes and community mailboxes.

Hamilton said the fee adds a small portion to the overall selling price of a home, and could be considered another utility like electricity, gas or water.

“We have a mandate where we are to serve all Canadians but to do so in a financially sustainable manner, we have to pay our own bills,” said Hamilton.

“Developers add homes to our network that we need to service … we are no longer in the position to cover the full cost and are looking at a partial recovery from the $200 per box.”

Canada Post’s website says the fee will not apply to new high-rise apartment or condo buildings.

Canada Post is still responsible for providing the mailboxes and the concrete pads on which they sit, as well as snow clearing and equipment repairs.

A 2011 report by the corporation said the average annual cost per address to service group mailboxes, community mailboxes and kiosks was $117. The average cost per address for door-to-door delivery in 2011 was $269.

Meunier said they should just send the bill to the developers who could add it to the cost of the land price.

“If people wonder why their price per square footage or the cost of a new home in Alberta is quite a bit higher than anyplace else, it’s a lot of those levies and fees that get added on and the requirements we have here,” he said.


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