Summer of Rats II

Honestly, this City is an embarrassment.  It is day 33 of the civic worker strike, garbage and rats are everywhere, we can't use the parks or get to the Island (CentreVille does not expect to make a penny this year because nobody will run the ferries) and now Via has gone on strike, too.  Although the Via issue isn't exactly Toronto-centric, it is a kick in the ribs to a city population and tourist industry that is already feeling crippled.  Wow, Toronto.  Good job. 

I was watching a piece on CBC news the other night where some journalists had taken some fancy equipment out to some of the temporary dump sites the City has set up and measured the odour emissions.  The emissions were, obviously, quite high.  They then took their findings to the City.  The journalists were told by the City that odour emissions "are a nuisance but not a human health hazard."  I found that very interesting because there is an entire regulation under Ontario's Environmental Protection Act which pertains to air pollution, including odour emissions.  I'm not sure if the City is aware of this, but things tend to get regulated under law when they are a human health hazard.  For a test of the Nuisance v. Human Health Hazard theory, drive by a meat-processing facility that's emitting well within its specified percentages and see if you'd be able to tolerate the smell if it were any worse.  It's the same thing for the poor people living right beside these temporary dumps.

If the City considers odour emissions just a nuisance, does it also consider the toxic run-off from the mountains of garbage piling up in our parks also only a "nuisance" as well?  What about the influx of rats?  I seem to remember the City singing a different tune on the issue of pesticides when they BANNED them from residential use in 2007 (a province-wide cosmetic pesticide ban was implemented this spring, overriding the City's by-law).  The toxic run-off created by the garbage and the pesticides goes straight through our woefully decrepit sewer system and out into Lake Ontario without treatment.  What doesn't run off seeps directly into the soil that our kids and dogs are going to be playing on once the garbage is removed – lovely.  Toronto has taken a hard line on environmentalism over last few years but now seems to be determined to unravel all their progressive work in a few short days with the asinine decision to open these temporary dumps and soak them in pesticides.

I take issue with the entire concept of these temporary dumps.  We don't need these damned things.  First of all, whoever heard of putting a dump in a residential area?  Dumps are kept far from people's homes for a reason.  If people weren't being held up for long periods of time by picketers, they would simply take their garbage to their local transfer station and we could use our parks for their intended purposes.  Why not just deal with the problem of obstruction?  You want to picket, Strikers – be my guest – but screwing around with residents trying to keep their city clean is absolutely inappropriate.

My aunt is worried that the outdoor rink will be the next park-site chosen as a temporary garbage dump, and I don't blame her.  Her house backs directly onto the park. She sent this email to the Mayor and her Councillor today:

I was just wondering why a court injunction could not be obtained to keep striking workers away from the entrances to the transfer stations.  If people were allowed to bring their garbage to the transfer stations without huge delays and confrontations with CUPE, there would be no need to keep opening temporary dump sites and kids would be able to play in their parks.
I look forward to your response.
And received this response shortly thereafter:

Thank you for your email letter.


We appreciate the frustration you are feeling. The Mayor is frustrated too that people are unable to access such essential programs and services as day camps and recreation programs as well garbage collection and the myriad other services the city provides 24/7.


Access to the City’s temporary dumps is concerning. As Mayor Miller has stated,  “People have the right to picket. They have the right to tell people their side of the story. They don’t have a right to obstruct. We’re going to continue to ensure people can access those sites in accordance with the law."


The city is looking into legal recourse related to the wait times being imposed by union members at transfer stations and temporary drop-off locations.  As you know, these sites are meant to be accessible for people to dispose of their waste during the labour disruption.  We agree that having to wait for an extended period of time in order to do so is unacceptable as this prevents many from being able to dispose of their garbage. 


We appreciate everyone's patience during this difficult time and we remain hopeful that a negotiated settlement will be reached soon that is both fair to the workers and affordable for our city. 





First of all, "Joanne",  do you have a last name?  Who do you work for, and in which department?  Do you have a telephone?  Hello, Business Writing 101.  And thanks for the form letter, which frankly, does not address the question.


Oh, Toronto. 

2 thoughts on “Summer of Rats II

  1. I thought of this blog post last night when I realized that I am having “Summer of the Ant/Fruit Fly” at home…

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