Daily Archives: July 14, 2009

Homeless living along Toronto’s Don Valley

By Kris Scheuer
(Published in NOW magazine March 23-30/06)

Through a break in a chain-link fence, over train tracks and felled trees and down slick mud banks – there’s no quick or easy route to this chaotic homeless encampment tucked not so neatly into a secluded corner of the Don Valley.
It’s a sanctuary from the bustle of the city, an ideal place to avoid society for my guide, Kurt, and seven or eight other homeless people who call this scattering of tents, sleeping bags and garbage home.
An estimated 111 homeless encampments are scattered throughout the city’s ravines, parks and woodlands, including many right here in the valley.
The city used to tolerate the people who call the valley home — but now a slowly building movement for their removal is theatening their riverbed shelters. It started when council passed a bylaw banning sleeping in Nathan Phillips Square and other public spaces.
Staff from the city’s Streets to Homes programs and other departments have been paying more regular visits to the Don.
Some 20 encampments have been cleared city-wide, and interviews with city staff suggest that more evictions are planned come spring. Streets to Homes says its forays are aimed at helping valley-dwellers find rental accommodation. Continue reading


Toronto highrises get organic waste collection

City rolls our green bins in multi-unit buildings over 18 months

By Kris Scheuer
(Originally written for Town Crier Nov. 13/08)
North Yorker Anne-Marie Ambert’s green conscience was eating away at her every time the condo-dweller threw food scraps in the trash.
So Ambert advocated for her building, near Yonge St. and Empress Ave., to be one of 30 test sites for city’s new highrise organic waste collection system.
As a result of having green bin pick-up since 2006, residents here reduced their waste output from five to seven industrial size garbage containers a week down to two, said Ambert, president of the condo board at The Boulevard.
The program was considered such a success here, Mayor David Miller chose this site to launch organic waste collection for all Toronto highrises.
“You have led the way in helping us find out how to do this,” Miller said Nov. 12. “People want to recycle but need tools to make it convenient and part of their daily lives.”
Over the next year and a half, the city will roll out the green bin program in 300 buildings each month until all 4,500 multi-unit residential buildings are on board. This is expected to divert an additional 30,000 tonnes of organic waste from landfill, according to city stats.

Anne-Marie Ambert demonstrates how green bin
works in her condo. Photo by Kris Scheuer.
Continue reading