City lost in the deal with strikers
An exclusive op-ed for the Town Crier by Councillor Karen Stintz
By Councillor Karen Stintz
(Written Sept. 8 for Town Crier)
Councillor Karen Stintz questions if city can afford new contact with local unions.
In last month’s Town Crier, Mayor David Miller had an opportunity to provide his perspective on the civic strike and the settlement that concluded the labour disruption. He claims his bargaining goals were met.
Weeks later and thanks to almost $1 million dollars in overtime, the city is cleaned up and back to business.
But let’s be clear: a financial mess remains. And for this reason alone Toronto residents endured a 39-day strike for nothing.
On day one of the strike, Toronto residents gamely hunkered down for a long, tough fight. They understood important issues were at hand. Mayor Miller himself told residents the city was facing “enormous budget challenges in 2009, 2010 and beyond.”
For this reason he said, “the cost of providing services must be in balance with the revenues the city has to pay the bills”. Continue reading
Posted in Toronto Politics
Tagged 39-day strike, budget challenges, Budget shortfall, city strike, civic strike, Councillor Karen Stintz, illegal dumping, Mayor David Miller, salary increase, sick bank, Toronto, Toronto City Hall, Town Crier
(Originally written Aug. 7 for Town Crier.)
Did Mayor David Miller, businesses and society as a whole win or lose in the city strike?
I am looking at it from all three sides. I have also examined the labour dispute and its aftermath from perspective of the city, unions and residents. For that part of the story, click here.
It’s all losses as far as I can tell.
Many small businesses that get city trash pick-up could take garbage to temporary dumps, but let’s face it some of them had to pony up cash for a private hauler.
Some businesses also had to cancel or relocate scheduled events because the city was not issuing permits or cleaning up garbage. In some cases, non-union staff and management helped with clean up of major street festivals such as the Pride parade.
Mayor David Miller
Miller has been badly beaten up by the media, councillors in opposition to him, unions and residents. He probably lost more than most when it comes to public perception. Continue reading
Posted in Toronto Politics, Toronto Strike
Tagged City of Toronto, Councillor Joe Mihevc, garbage, illegal dumping, Kris Scheuer, Mayor David Miller, sick days banked, Toronto, Toronto Strike Impact, Town Crier newspaper, unions
We produce too much garbage, litter and packaging
I am doing my own waste audit to see how I can improve
By Kris Scheuer
(Column originally published in Town Crier Aug. 4)
Something stinks in the “state” of Toronto and it’s not just the garbage strike.
As a city hall reporter and lifelong Torontonian, here is my trash talk on garbage, litter and my top observations during the nearly six week labour unrest.
Number 1: we produce way too much waste, folks.
We deposited a total of 25,000 tonnes of waste in 26 temporary, neighbourhood garbage dumps, Geoff Rathbone, head of solid waste management told reporters on July 30.
Let’s think about that for a sec. The dumps opened June 25, some of them, such as Christie Pits, closed a mere 11 days later because they were at capacity. The amount of garbage we threw out at these dumps doesn’t even include the tonnes thrown out at seven waste transfer stations. Continue reading
Posted in Environment, garbage, Toronto
Tagged Christie Pits, Citizens for a Safe Environment, city strike, garbage strike, Geoff Rathbone, illegal dumping, Karen Buck, Kris Scheuer, Toronto, Town Crier, waste audit
Evidence from garbage strike is we still have long way to go in conservation quest
(Originally written July 17 by Kris Scheuer for Town Crier.)
Conservation and consumption.
There’s both good news and a shocking reality check when it comes to how much we conserve and consume in Toronto.
We are becoming more aware of ways we can cut back on our use of everything from energy to plastic bags.
But on the other hand, the garbage strike that hit the city at midnight June 22 made it oh so obvious that we are still producing far too much waste.
While it’s true that as the clock struck midnight, it had been two weeks since the last regularly scheduled garbage pickup for some folks, there were already reports of people illegally dumping waste in parks like Christie Pits on day 1 of the strike. Continue reading
Posted in Environment, garbage, Toronto Strike
Tagged Christie Pits, consumption and conservation, five-cent plastic bags, garbage strike, illegal dumping, Kris Scheuer, Plastic bags, reusable bags, Toronto Strike, Torontonians, Town Crier
I counted 196 bags of garbage dumped on sidewalks along the Toronto strip
The trash was observed between Dufferin and Bathurst strike day 23
This massive pile was at Oakwood and St. Clair the afternoon of July 14.
Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.
By Kris Scheuer
(Published July 15/09 for the Town Crier.)
It’s day 23 of the garbage strike and St. Clair Ave. West between Dufferin and Bathurst streets is starting to stink from illegally dumped trash.
On July 14, I walked along St. Clair from Bathurst to Dufferin streets to see how the strip was holding up and found 196 large and small bags of garbage dumped on the sidewalk plus nine cardboard boxes of discarded waste.
I did not include trash being stored on properties of businesses or apartments, nor did I count random litter, including pop cans, milk cartons and water bottles, scattered along St. Clair in my tally.
This section of the road mainly consists of some low-rise residential buildings, two and three-storey streetfront shops, grocers and restaurants with apartments above. None of them are getting garbage pick-up during the strike however there is a temporary, legal dump at Earlscourt Park, located at St. Clair Ave. West and Lansdowne Ave. Continue reading
City has issued thousands of fines, hundreds of tickets during garbage strike
By Kris Scheuer
(Originally published July 15/09 for the Town Crier.)
Some Torontonians are not bothering to take waste to temporary mini-trashe sites and are dumping garbage instead.
Now the city is cracking down.
“We have now issued 328 fines and over 6,800 warnings have been issued,” Geoff Rathbone, general manager of solid waste management services said at a July 15 city press conference. “Many of those have been issued at the temporary drop off sites and transfer stations but also on streets.”
Leisa Tjoeng, a spokesperson for the city, specified that 6,849 illegal dumping warnings had been issued as of the morning of July 15. Fines start at $380 a pop.
While the city is not removing garbage from temporary neighbourhood dumps, the city is cleaning up litter and illegally dumped trash during the labour disruption where possible.
Rathbone added, “We are using our management staff at both transfer stations and temporary drop off sites and where resources allow on streets to clean litter for special events and on a periodic basis on regular streets.”
Posted in garbage, Toronto Strike
Tagged garbage, Geoff Rathbone, illegal dumping, Kris Scheuer, Leisa Tjoeng, solid waste management services, Toronto, Toronto Strike, Torontonians, trash