Statement by Mayor David Miller -- Tuesday, June 23
David Miller, Toronto Mayor
Published Tuesday, June 23, 2009 6:29PM EDT
I want to begin by thanking Torontonians for their patience as the City of Toronto continues to work with our employees to reach a negotiated settlement to this labour dispute.
These are difficult times for all of us from the workers on the picket lines to the families with children in daycare.
However, I want to speak this afternoon about the matter of illegal dumping of garbage in public places.
I know that the overwhelming majority of Torontonians respect their city and are proud of it.
We've seen some tremendous goodwill from people who are finding the litter bins closed and are taking their litter home or finding other ways to responsibly dispose of it.
However, it is becoming clear that there is a small group of people who are taking advantage of this strike to use the city as their personal dumping ground.
This is not and should not be acceptable to any of us.
As Mayor I am disappointed that some would be so thoughtless as to use our beautiful parks and green spaces in this way.
This is just the second day of the strike, which is why it's important to take a stand now and to put those who are illegally dumping on notice that we will have no tolerance for this.
We know Torontonians - residents and business owners alike - are immensely proud of their city.
Now is the time to translate those feelings into action.
The most important thing we can do is to keep our streets, parks and public areas clean.
We all want this city to be liveable, even during a strike.
For those few individuals who don't get the message, let me be perfectly clear again...Illegal dumping will not be tolerated.
People who witness illegal dumping can report it by calling 416-338-0338.
At this number people can leave details including location and the amount of waste. The City will act on reports of significant dumping.
There is no reason and there is most certainly no excuse for illegal dumping.
For those who have a sizeable amount of waste the City has seven transfer stations open. We know that picketers are creating long delays.
The City is addressing the situation as best we can but if it's at all possible to hold on to your solid waste for a little while longer, we'll all be better off.
We know this is not ideal, but we appreciate the patience of Torontonians.
We all have a role to play and your fellow Torontonians will appreciate the fact that this waste will be going where it belongs and won't be dumped in places like parks where it will have a negative impact on the lives of others.
I again want to thank Torontonians who are working to keep our streets as clean as possible.
Taking responsibility for your waste will go a long way to helping us get through this hot week.
I'd now like to ask City Manager Joe Pennachetti to say a few words and then we'll take your questions.
Statement by City Manager Joe Pennachetti at today's news conference, Tuesday June 23, 2009
Firstly, let me emphasize that the TTC, Police, Fire, and Long Term Care Homes & Services (Homes for the Aged) will not be affected by a labour disruption, and ambulance/paramedic services will continue to respond to emergency medical calls as usual.
Non-emergency and low priority calls may be affected.
Clients who currently receive Ontario Works benefits will continue to do so without interruption.
Like the mayor, I was extremely disappointed to see the amount of illegal dumping that has taken place in the last 48 hours.
Let me be clear, bylaw officers will enforce the laws, which start with a $380 fine. Officers have discretion to issue a court summons where a first time offence could cost a person up $10,000 or a company up to $50,000. The City will pursue full prosecution in every case.
Our officers have and will continue issue tickets for this offence.
Illegal dumping includes:
o Dropping garbage in parks, or around City waste bins. We are not doing waste pickup from City bins at this time.
o Dropping garbage outside of one of our transfer stations.
Should the strike continue, later this week the City will announce a large number of drop-off locations for residential waste that will be open by the weekend.
This plan should meet the needs of Torontonians. The new sites will be in place just five days after the strike started.
We have our eye on what is expected to be a hot week in Toronto. Should conditions warrant, the City will declare a heat alert and open cooling centres to help our most vulnerable residents get a break from the heat.
Under normal conditions we would use City facilities to serve as locations, but during the strike we will identify alternate locations so the public can access cooling centres as quickly as possible.
To recap, the contingency plan is in effect and residents with questions can go to our website Toronto.ca or call Access Toronto 24 hours a day at 416-338-0338.
We know this strike has caused inconvenience to residents and businesses and we ask for your continued patience.
Most importantly, we remain hopeful there will be a quick resolution to this strike.