The city says it has no immediate plans to open new dumpsites to collect household trash as the strike by Toronto civic workers continues on.

The city said Tuesday that is temporary sites are currently about 20 per cent full, but it will continue to monitor the situation.

"On a daily basis, we will make future decisions about either the closure of some sites, in terms of when they've reached capacity, and/or the opening of additional sites," city official Geoff Rathbone told reporters at a briefing session -- one in which the chanting of striking workers outside could be heard in the background.

The Friends of Christie Pits, a group opposed to the use of the hockey rink in the park being used as a temporary dump, obtained a list on Monday that may show where more dumps might go.

The next sites, considered to be secondary waste collection facilities, could be:

  • Budapest park
  • Campbell playground
  • Dufferin Grove park
  • E.T. Seaton   
  • Earl Bales park
  • East York Community Centre
  • Greenwood park
  • Rennie park
  • Trinity-Bellwoods park
  • Woodbine Beach park

There is also a list of dozens of "tertiary" locations (the complete list is available at right in the 'more' section) if the primary and secondary sites get filled up before the dispute ends. High Park gets mentioned 23 times.

The strike began on June 22. At that time, the city had two 24-hour permanent transfer stations open to the public plus five other locations that would be open 12 hours per day.

By the afternoon of June 25, the city had opened 19 other sites. Some of those are in recreational areas such as Christie Pits park. Garbage at those temporary locations is to remain there for the duration of the strike.

More than half of the Christie Pits hockey rink appears to filled with household garbage.

Residents of the Christie Pits area have been particularly vocal about their opposition to the temporary garbage dump, holding street protests and holding up motorists coming to drop off garbage. Another protest was held this afternoon, starting at 5 p.m. and ending when the dump closed for the day at 7 p.m.

People coming to drop off garbage got confronted to the point where police on scene had to tell the protesters to cool down. Protesters asked dumpers to take the garbage to a permanent transfer station. Some people drove off without dropping their trash.

CTV Toronto's Chris Eby described the smell in the area as "awful," then added, "Imagine trying to have a Canada Day barbecue in that."

Govind Rao, who has been a protest organizer, told CTV Toronto that the temporary dump means constant traffic on Crawford Street.

"We've got to keep our cat indoors because they're spraying insecticide that will actually bring seizures about in cats," he said. "It's just constant stink, and we're concerned for the health of the kids in the neighbourhood."

Contract talks

By all accounts, the negotiations between the city and CUPE Locals 416 and 79, which represent the outside and inside workers respectively, are going very slowly.

"There's been no movement," union spokesperson Pat Daley told CTV Toronto's Tom Hayes.

The strike seems to be turning on a few key issues. One is a clause that allows civic workers to bank their 16 sick days per year and to cash them in for up to six month's pay when they retire. Wages are an issue, as are seniority and job security issues.

Some in the public see the sick days clause as an unrealistic perk in the current era, although some analysts have suggested previous municipal governments agreed to those clauses instead of up-front wages in order to defer labour costs.

"Sick days is one concession, and it's a big one (that's) been highlighted with the public, but there are many, many more that actually have nothing to do with money," Daley said.

Hayes reported that two councillors told him they expect this dispute to last at least five to six weeks. Other news media are claiming their union sources are expecting the strike to last at least a month.

 In 2002, the province legislated striking Toronto municipal workers back to work after 16 days.

In Windsor on Tuesday, Finance Minister Dwight Duncan said the province will not be acting quickly to legislate an end to the disputes in either Toronto on Windsor. Municipal workers in that city have been on strike for nearly three months.

With reports from CTV Toronto's Chris Eby and Tom Hayes