Viewpoint: Where garbage reigns supreme

By Eva Curlanis-Bart –


A city aspiring to “world class” should be able to deliver on key services under its municipal charter–efficient municipal infrastructure, safe and secure streets, attractive business and residential tax rates. Downtown residents, however, are inundated with rubbish both figurative and non-figurative, the hallmark of this municipal government.

The most dismal failure is Toronto’s inability to get a grip on waste management. Why does the city purchase ridiculous amounts of plastic containers in all colours of the rainbow and transfers the responsibility for and the burden of garbage storage to the taxpayer?
The latest plastic monster arrived in early April—this time in the navy blue. Its sheer size is ridiculous, particularly in the Downtown context where the average plot width does not go much beyond 16 feet, where row houses dominate, and if there is a backyard, it is only accessible through the house.
So what to do with the monster? Leave it in the front where it blocks access, cart the garbage in the sky-blue box, and then place it in the navy one? And what about the elderly or the physically challenged who would not be able to push the monster to the curb and position it within the carefully proscribed criteria? Will they have to hire help?
Apparently the navy monster can be traded for a smaller one, but the process is confusing. A 20-minute telephone hold at (416) 392-2467 was followed by a customer service agent’s inept statement that the supplier was not ready to process the exchange. A call to Patti McDaniel of Waste Management at (647) 321-4196 resulted in a location visit to ascertain if the household was entitled to a smaller monster or an alternative haul of recyclables in clear plastic bags—the final outcome pending.
It would be interesting to find out what the contract’s price tag was, and who got the contract for the production and delivery of the monsters. Why the big bins? It seems the waste management personnel must be spared all physical exertion so they can sit in their vehicles and play solitaire on their computers while the Canada arm will do the heavy lifting.

This process will be as effective and cost efficient as the one performed by the “elephant trunk” brigades that are supposed to vacuum pick litter from our streets and sidewalks. Like their “elephant trunk” union brothers, the Canada arm ones will run to fat—overweight and overpaid and totally overrated.