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Spaniard’s Bay councilors shine light on Canada Post issue

By Mark Squibb/February 24, 2022

The recent installation of mailboxes at the rear of the municipal building parking lot has sparked plenty of discussion in the Spaniard’s Bay council chambers, including the lighting around the area.

“It’s a dark area on its own, on the council property, and there’s a few potholes, so my suggestion would be that we change out the light, the one that’s currently there, for a brighter LED one,” said councilor Darlene Stamp. She reckoned the cost would be an extra $10 per month.

Stamp suggested the light should be tipped slightly more towards the mailboxes.

The mailboxes were installed by Canada Post following the closure of the town’s lone post office in December, which was at the former A1 Convenience store.

The closure of the convenience store just before the Christmas holidays meant people had to travel to Harbour Grace to pick up their mail or deliver parcels, which led to long line ups and unhappy customers.

Canada Post worked with the Town of Spaniard’s Bay to get the mailboxes installed, although residents still have to travel elsewhere for other postal services, such as buying stamps or sending mail.

Stamp said improved lighting will discourage some people from using the parking lot as a hang out.

“It’s good all around,” said Stamp, who made a motion that council install the ‘brightest of the bright’ light council has.

Councilor Sherry Lundrigan allowed at least two or three bulbs will be needed to lighten the area. It’s a concern that she said she has already raised with Canada Post.

“I was up there one night, checking my mail, and I called Canada Post, as a resident and not as a councilor, and I was telling her that the lighting was really bad, and I asked her whose responsibility it is,” said Lundrigan. “She was supposed to get back to me on February 17, but she said that as far as she knew the responsibility fell back on the municipality of Spaniard’s Bay.”

Stamp said that even before the mailboxes were installed, the area needed better lighting.

Councilor Tony Dominix agreed.

“You’re absolutely right, Darlene,” said Dominix. “It’s dark down there, the road is broken up.”

Councilor Paul Ryan voiced his agreement with Dominix, and Lundrigan reiterated that Canada Post feels it is the town’s responsibility.

“Like I said to her (the Canada Post official), it’s very dark there, and someone’s going to hurt themselves and if someone hurts themselves because it’s dark, who’s responsible for that?” said Lundrigan. “And she said, ‘Well, if the boxes are on the municipality of Spaniard’s Bay parking lot, then I would think the municipality would be responsible.”

Stamp made a motion to install three lights along the parking lot, while councilor Ryan added they should create a file of expenses related to the mailboxes that can be referred to Canada Post later.

Councilor Eric Jewer noted the motion would also include the installation of new poles.

Dominix said it would be better to stagger the mailboxes throughout town, as the current situation, aside from the lighting issue, also means congestion in the parking lot. He praised neighboring Georgetown for its mailbox situation, saying it was 1000 per cent better.

“It’s all shielded with plexiglass and there’s lights on it,” said Dominix.  “I can’t see why we can’t have something similar.”

Town Manager Tony Ryan, however, sounded a note of caution.

“It’s my opinion, that if they’re expecting council to light their mailboxes, I think we should tell them to set them up elsewhere,” said Ryan, to which councilors Lundrigan, Ryan, Dominix, and Mayor Paul Brazil voiced agreement.

Deputy Mayor Tammy Oliver suggested the Town write Canada Post about the issue. Council agreed.

Stamp, however, argued that while council works with Canada Post towards a long-term solution, a short-term fix is needed.

“We can improve on the rest of it as we go along, but right now, we need to get that area lit up,” said Stamp, adding that if the mailboxes were removed from the site the next morning, council would still need to light up the parking lot. The motion to put in a brighter bulb and reposition the light was unanimously approved.

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