Newspaper boxes soon to litter QB streets?

In our recent article on Black Press’ campaign for public donations, we noted that QB Council recently gave approval to Black Press to place newspaper boxes for PQB News around Town. Lance Nater, a past-president of Eaglecrest Residents’ Association, informed us that a similar request by PQB News had been rejected by residents and Council a few years ago, and he wonders what has changed.

The following letter to the Mayor and Council was sent by Lance Nater in response to a Council decision made in camera on April 20, 2020, without opportunity for public input. Editor

The May 13 Council agenda includes a notice that the PQB newspaper will install some number of their newspaper boxes near some unspecified number of community mail boxes. This agenda also states that staff will determine the box locations. I do not recall this idea ever being discussed in a public forum. However, I am well aware of the pro and con arguments to this idea.

Some years ago, the PQB News took it upon themselves to install some of their boxes next to community mail boxes in Eaglecrest and Oceanside. At that time, these boxes were a bright red. As president of the Eaglecrest Residents’ Association at that time, I and other ERA board members received a number of comments from members. Some were in favour of this move as papers would no longer be tossed in driveways. Comments were that this was a good security measure particularly for households vacated during winter months. Other comments, the majority, were not supportive. Among this group the primary concern was aesthetic. They felt the boxes themselves were unsightly. They were also concerned that unwanted portions of the newspaper would be left behind or dropped to blow around in the wind and rain.

The ERA board met with the PQB News circulation manager. The manager was asked why this move was initiated. We were told that the paper was finding it increasingly difficult to find and retain delivery personnel because the routes were too long. We questioned why they simply did not restructure and shorten their routes. The response was the use of their boxes was their preferred method of distribution. I spoke with the mayor at the time about PQB News actions and request. An offer was made for the Town to build some form of kiosks that would hide the PQB boxes. I recall  the number of two to four locations was discussed. The Oceanside community has this type of arrangement for their community mail boxes and accepted the placement of PQB News boxes with their community mail boxes.

Based on the comments received, the discussion with the PQB News, and discussions with the mayor, the paper was asked to remove their boxes, which they promptly did. I am not aware of any changes that would warrant reconsideration of this idea. If anything, it seems the news content has diminished relative to ad content. We should all remember it rains in our Town. Some Eaglecrest residents have demonstrated their pride of the community by beautifying their community boxes with vegetation. I’m unsure of Town staff expertise to determine which locations are suitable for the PQB News boxes to be installed. I’m also not sure this is the appropriate time to be considering ideas that may invite individuals to congregate.

This was not a good idea for Eaglecrest then and I do not believe it is a good idea now. The last I heard, the Oceanside community was satisfied with their arrangement. The Eaglecrest community is very different in geography, location of community boxes along the streets, and the number and distribution of community mail boxes in Eaglecrest.