Garbage - Amil Niazi

Photo submitted to CBC by Amil Niazi

Toronto strike enters week 2
CBC News, 29.06/2009

The strike by Toronto’s municipal workers has entered its second week, and although all sides are still talking, some residents are showing their frustration with the most visible sign of the labour dispute: the mounting piles of garbage.
Children play at Sunday’s protest against the use of Christie Pits as a temporary dump. Children play at Sunday’s protest against the use of Christie Pits as a temporary dump. (Contributed by Monica Gupta)

About 24,000 city workers walked off the job on June 22 to back their demands for a new contract.

Two Canadian Union of Public Employees locals are on strike — Local 416, which represents outside workers, and Local 79, which mostly represents inside workers.

The union and management negotiating teams continue to meet, but no details have been released on the progress of the talks.

A sticking point in the negotiations is said to be the city’s insistence on removing a number of benefits from the existing collective agreements, including the ability of some union members to bank sick-leave days.

“We’re not any closer to resolving this issue,” CUPE spokesperson Pat Daley said.

A number of municipal services have been cancelled, including city-run daycares, parks and recreation programs, city-sponsored day camps, and many Canada Day celebrations.

What’s affected

* Garbage, recycling and compost pickup
* City-run daycare centres
* Water and sewer work
* Swimming pools
* Summer camps
* Community recreation centres
* Museums and galleries
* Toronto Islands ferries
* Some libraries

To try to deal with the garbage mess, the city has asked residents to take their own garbage to any of 26 dump sites in Toronto — 19 of them temporary sites located mostly in city parks.

At at least one location, people are complaining, loudly, about the measure.

About 100 people showed up at a park in the city’s west end on Sunday evening to protest.

Monica Gupta, of Friends of Christie Pits Park, said in an email to CBC News that the demonstration was held so people could show their “collective disappointment over the new temporary dump site in the park.”

Canada Day cancellations

* Amesbury Canada Day, Amesbury Park
* Ashbridges Bay Fireworks
* Canada Day Event, Earlscourt Park
* Somali-Canada Day, Earl Bales Park
* Ontario Australian Football Championships, Colonel Samuel Smith Park
* Peanut Town Festival, Oriole Park North
* East York Toronto Canada Day, Stan Wadlow Park
* MPP Canada Day Event — Don Valley West MPP, Flemingdon Park
* Shomoy Mela, Detonia Park
* Canada Day Celebrations, Thompson Memorial Park/Milliken District Park
* Canada Day Celebration, St. James Park
* New Country Canada Day Jam, Woodbine Park
* 16th Annual Neighbours Together, Riverdale Park East
* Canada Day Festival, Kew Gardens
* Canada Day, Mel Lastman Square

The park has a dump on the concrete surface of its outdoor hockey rink.

Although the temporary site has only been open since Friday, already half the surface of the rink is filled with green garbage bags up to the top of the boards.

Nearby residents say the dump is starting to have an impact on people’s lives. The smell from the refuse, they say, is starting to creep across the park and into the surrounding neighbourhoods.

Edward Kuszelewski held his shirt over his face when he arrived early Monday morning to take part in a “boot camp” exercise program being held in the park.

In spite of the obvious displeasure from the odour, he was philosophical about the problem.

“The workout will make you [sick] before the garbage does, I’ll tell you that much,” he said.

But Mariko Timiki, who was also arriving to participate in the early-morning class, said it was a “nasty” trek downhill to the workout spot.

“Upwind, I saw some lady walking her dog who was about to be sick,” Timiki said.

The class’s instructor said she intends to move to another part of the park until the strike is over.

Sunday’s protesters want the city to move the garbage out of the park and to pick another temporary garbage site.

But others in the neighbourhood say at least the garbage is being contained inside the hockey rink and isn’t on the grass.

I think that this has become so much more of a problem than people realise or want to admit. It’s true that I live in Newmarket, a northern suburb, but this affects me too as I’m forced to pass through Toronto on my way to work. I can understand the frustrations of people and how they aren’t happy about what’s going on, but this is getting ridiculous. The dump sites are over-flowing, and there is rubbish everywhere in suburbs because people in the city are jealous that our workers aren’t on strike, so they take it out on us. Why is it that each house in Toronto generates 10x more rubbish than the larger homes in the suburbs? We have been on 2 bag restrictions for a few years, and our pickup is once every two weeks. That’s literally cutting the rubbish in half for York Region.

This article also raises the points about how it’s not only rubbish collection that is affected. What about the summer jobs that students find to help pay for their education (that is also overpriced)? Nothing, they are simply out of jobs? What are kids supposd to do with all the community closures? What about day care? What about the people that aren’t affected? It’s simply selfish and pathetic that the city workers are asking for more money. I wonder how they would laugh at me trying to survive with the wages I make?

I live in Newmarket, a North-Eastern suburb of Toronto, I work in Mississauga, a South-Western suburb of Toronto that borders Etobicoke. I use York Region Transit, TTC, Mississauga Transit, or York Region Transit, GO Transit, and Mississauga transit to get to work each day and back. Each pass is upwards of $90, and that’s 3 so it’s roughy $300 plus taxes. After my wages, I’m left with not even enough to live in a subsidised housing complex. What about food? What about everything? Sure I get a tax-credit for public transit (next year) but right now how am I expected to live? Those workers, and students, and parents are all in the same position o getting paid too little or what they need. Get over yourselves and get back to work like the rest of the bloody country. You wonder why we are irritated and sick of your ranting and immaturity.

I guess I finally have an actually reason to think Toronto is a dump, becasue now it  quite literally is!

For those of whom don’t know me, I take part, since nearly a decade now, in the Newmarket Citizens Band, which is the oldest continuously running community band in the Canada (and possibly the world). I started playing oboe, and moved to flute and piccolo a few years later. In any case, each Canada Day, July 1st, we have a few performances. The morning is the Aurora Parade, which starts at Orchard Heights Dr., in Aurora and goes to Henderson Ave., just north of the train tracks. The evening concert is in George Richardson Park, on Bayview Parkway in Newmarket. The crowds are always poor for the evening concert, but it’s a concert regardless of anything.

Steph's Car Breaking DownThe Sky, George Richardson Park, Newmarket

The only problem was, that it rained so hard that we had to cancel it. That didn’t stop the excitement as Steph’s car battery / car phunked out and I couldn’t resist taking photos of this momentous moment. It was just too funny, and unfortunate of course. In any case, Happy Canada Day, you Canadians, eh!

Newmarket, ONNewmarket, Pizza Hut

Who would have thunk that with the cold temperatures that the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) has been getting, would be broken by a heat wave that brought high levels of humidty and tons of showers. The rain has become annoying, and so when we get some summer sunshine I take photos of random things! First thing would be the trip to Pizza Hut! Oh yes, the tradition of France comes back to Canada, although the pizzas here are larger and cost a little bit more, but are the same great taste! In fact, the taste is so savoury that I took the remainder parts into work and am going to eat them on Friday. Yummy dummy! The streets of Newmarket, Ontario are filled with creepies, but on this day they were filled with sunshine as seen in the above pictures.

Newmarket - Mulock & Bathurst

The following days were started with sunshine mixed with clouds, but this sight at Mulock Dr. & Bathurst St. in Newmarket made me take the camera out and take a photo. The colours can’t be seen, but the way it was to my eye was a meriad of pinks, purples, and greys that painted the sky at 06.30 in the morning. Regardless of any of this, it was a pretty sight, and it’s a nice way to start the day: with sunshine every morning (or at least general sunlight). Such a shame that it will be done with in a few months! Le sigh!

Canada.Day.07.01Canada.Day.07.02

Jet legged like hell I couldn’t sleep and was terribly uncomfortable since I arrived home. It’s been weird timing, the massive distances between things, and the huge things when shopping that are throwing me for a whirl. Even the currency I don’t understand and find that it’s not familiar. I sort of resent it, but it’s Canada Day with the family so I figured it would be okay.

Since my father died, my mom and her sisters have been closer on both sides, so it was nice to have some family around not for me to waste away into nothing because that’s what I was feeling like. It turns out that being in Canada, and this horrid little suburb is the thing that’s driving me crazy and making me feel sick and horrible the last few years. I’ve gotten a horrible sinus infection like I got when I came to France, and I’m trying to get over it but I manage.

We had a band concert for Canada Day which I went to perform in so that I could surprise everyone of my arrival which was earlier than expected. The performance was just before the fireworks show, and Alison, her fiancé Brian, and Cameron (all my cousins but really my bros and sis’) came for the fireworks to see me and enjoy old moments together. It was great to be familiar with people but being in Canada was weird. It was freezing and oddly in the middle of nowhere Jason Villnef came over and started hugging me saying how much he missed me.

Canada.Day.07.03

We never were very good friends, but we went to the same high school; but the impression that he left was that everyone thought we would have been friends for years. Weird, but I guess it didn’t bother me. The fireworks came and Newmarket didn’t dissapoint this year; thank goodness – damn cheap city! And we went home and I struggled to sleep as usual; life back in Canada is going to blow…. (chunky chunks)

Nevertheless a lovely day to celebrate the country and it’s quasi-independance from Britian. Something like 145 years now; go team.