More temporary garbage dumps could be coming
Some city residents angry over how the city has made Christie Pits park a temporary dumping ground say they've obtained a document that shows the city will be expanding such dumps elsewhere.
Govind Rao of the Friends of Christie Pits told ctvtoronto.ca on Monday that his group sent an inquiry about what chemicals are being used to control insects and vermin at the temporary dump sites, one of which is in a hockey rink at Christie Pits, which is north of Bloor Street West and west of Christie Street.
The response came from the pest control company. "In their response, by mistake, they sent us ... a list of all the different dumpsites," he said.
An email from an employee at Orkin/PCO Services said: "... I've also attached the Site Capacity and Perimeter Totals sheet that shows the sites we are servicing (Primary to start, Secondary after Primary are full and hopefully we won't need Tertiary)."
The city unveiled the locations of the 19 primary temporary facilities last Thursday. Seven permanent facilities are also accepting garbage.
Rao said Coun. Joe Pantalone told his group that he had no idea where the dumpsites would be placed in the event of a strike, but this list is dated June 1.
"Christie Pits is basically full. By tomorrow evening, it will be full," he said.
Rao suspects the city will then start to open up more than a dozen "secondary" sites such as in Trinity-Bellwoods, Dufferin Grove Greenwood or Earl Bales parks.
There is also a long list of "tertiary" dump sites if the secondary sites fill up.
"The city's plan is not to bargain and settle. The city's plan is just to store garbage until all the parks in the city are covered in garbage," he said.
CTV Toronto reported that the city wouldn't confirm that the secondary sites would be the next to start accepting garbage if the strike continues.
Residents around Christie Pits have been among the most vocal in expressing their displeasure over their local park being used as a dump. They were out picketing on Monday afternoon and evening, slowing traffic down. Earlier in the day, shouting matches erupted, with one woman yelling, "I'm being held hostage!"
Laura Berazadi, who was among the picketers, told CTV Toronto: "People are getting really aggravated they weren't able to drive through. People started going on the sidewalks and a woman tried to run me over."
Mark Nimeroski said: "It's going to be their neighbourhood soon. Kids play here. It's not simply pick like dump a pile of trash, pick it up, move it away. There's lingering chemicals in the ground."
The garbage will stay at those sites for the duration of the strike, officials said.
Dr. David McKeown, the city's chief medical officer of health, said last week the temporary sites won't lead to health problems, although he conceded some might be offended by the odour.
Strike talks progress
Mayor David Miller used the city's briefing on Monday to criticize Local 79, the CUPE unit that represents the city's inside workers, for not responding to a city offer on wages.
"Local 79 has not responded formally to the city's full monetary proposal for eight days," he said.
In a written statement, CUPE Local 79 Ann Dembinsi said: "We have been at th bargaining table for six months and the city still hasn't removed concession demands from the table or moved toward a settlement position on other issues. That is the real obstacle to settling this strike and we believe that bargaining through the media will not be helpful."
The city is in negotiations with two unions representing inside and outside workers (CUPE Local 416). Workers went on strike on June 22 to protest the city's positions on sick leave, seniority and recall rights in the event of layoffs. Wages are also an issue.
The mayor said he will not bring replacement workers in, saying it's not a practical move when dealing with 24,000 employees.
Miller said he's proud of Torontonians for being so patient, especially around issues of garbage.
"Torontonians have been terrific, patient, understanding," he said. "They're taking their garbage to where its supposed to be, and they're not illegally dumping."
Pride cleanup, Canada Day
The garbage clean-up after the Pride parade may have gone well but Torontonians will have to clean up after themselves on Canada Day without the help of the city, officials say.
Rob Andrusevich, a City of Toronto spokesperson, said municipally-run Canada Day events and firework shows are cancelled because of the civic strike.
About 100 non-union staff from the city, working with private contractors, helped clean up after the annual parade, which usually draws a million people to to watch.
On Sunday, unionized workers on strike formed a human chain around front-end loaders, street vacuums and dump trucks owned by Centennial Sweeping, a private company based out of North York.
The blockade delayed the clean-up for hours. Yonge Street was closed from Bloor Street to Carlton Street for most of the evening.
Mark Ferguson, Local 416 president, told the Globe and Mail that workers blocked the clean-up because the city had promised not to hire private help.
However, city spokesperson Kevin Sack said Toronto typically hires a private contractor to help with the clean-up every time there's a major event in a concentrated area. The Pride parade, for example, drew about one million to Toronto's gay village.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Reshmi Nair and files from The Canadian Press