Surrey wants new laws to save lot of cash on postage

If you live in a major city, hundreds of thousands of your tax dollars are spent on postage every year.

It costs Surrey about $800,000 a year to send out mail; that’s why Surrey Council wants the city to use email for much of that correspondence instead.

The trouble is the Local Government Act and the Community Charterrequire municipalities to communicate with residents via “mail,” which is defined as the “deposit of the matter to which the context applies in the Canada Post Office at any place in Canada, postage prepaid, for transmission by post, and includes delivery.”

Councillor Tom Gill says the language used in those laws is a little dated.

“Technology is at the forefront of any business and we are now looking at email as the conventional method used by many businesses and individuals as an acceptable means to communicate,” Gill told News1130.

“So, what we are suggesting is utilizing email correspondence would be similar to that of conventional mail.”

Gill says transitioning away from snail mail isn’t just about saving money; it’s the method of communication lots of people and businesses prefer.

“What I find funny at times is people have forgotten how to write because they send their correspondence through email or text,” he says. “When we’re looking at those mechanisms of communication, I think it’s time that municipalities change with the times.”

Surrey will take the issue to the Union of BC Municipalities convention later this month.