Garbage privatization would save $2M not $6M: report
A week before a crucial vote on privatizing Toronto's garbage collection, a new report has backed union claims that current projected savings are too high.
The report, titled "Look Before You Leap" was commissioned by the Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA), and states that after a potential deal is complete "proper monitoring" of the private firm taking over would reduce any savings from $6 million to $2 million.
"Without proper monitoring we have no idea if the private sector collection company delivers what it promises," said Franz Hartmann, TEA's executive director. "If you have proper monitoring a lot of the savings disappear."
The report examined a number of other major cities with privatized collection and suggests any deal could put Toronto's blue and green bin programs at risk.
But Denzil Minnan-Wong, the City's Public Works Chair councillor, says that proper monitoring won't be an issue.
"In a private collection arrangement in Etobicoke, they are actually one per cent better at waste diversion than the rest of the city of Toronto that has public collection," Minnan-Wong said.
He said private collectors can actually have an incentive to divert waste because they earn more of a profit by collecting recycling and organics. He says he believes that privatizing could save up to $8 million but the council will find out if the union is correct during the bidding process.
Meanwhile the union has also released two new radio commercials asking people to "stand up for public services" in a bid to stop councilors from voting yes on the deal, which would privatize services from the Humber River to Yonge Street.
Union president Mark Ferguson says the multimedia campaign, which includes a mailouts, is about educating people on the potential pitfalls of privatization.
"We're getting our message out that publicly-delivered services are more economical, they're better for the environment and more accountable to the taxpayer," he said.
Both CUPE and TEA say city councillors need more information before finalizing the decision to privatize.
The vote is scheduled to take place either Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.
With files from CTV's Alicia Markson.