Ask Torontonians how their summers are going so far and many of them will respond, “it stinks!” Literally, in some parts of the city. While the moderate warmth and sunshine are contributing factors to the less than stellar season, the strike that has kept garbage from being picked up all around Canada's largest city would be the main reason for the displeasure of its residents.
Large bags of garbage have been accumulating in massive heaps in temporary drop off zones throughout Toronto since the strike began on June 22nd. Residents of nearby areas of these sites have been complaining, not only about the smell of the unsanitary trash, but of the dangerous pesticides being used to ward off insects.
The strike has also caused major headaches for Torontonians as it has forced the closing of daycares, parks, pools and recreation services citywide. Needless to say, this has not been a glorious summer so far.
However, at 3:30pm today, “CUPE Local 79 President Ann Dembinksi announced the city's inside workers had reached a deal” as reported by Don Peat on Toronto Sun's website. Her counterpart CUPE Local 416 President Mark Ferguson, who represents outside workers, revealed that the city had dropped all concessions that were on the bargaining table.
He warned, however, that picketers may still be present around the city until the deal is officially approved. Daniel Dale of The Toronto Star notes that once the settlement has been made, city services should resume fairly quickly.
This, of course, would certainly inject a little sunshine back into Toronto's drab summer. On The Toronto Star's website earlier today, Dale used 2002's civic strike as a reference to quell the worries of Toronto residents everywhere. He notes that within days of that strike ending, indoor pools, daycares, day camps and a number of other city services were restored.
As it relates to garbage pickup, Dale writes that the 2002 strike ended on a Thursday, “litter bins and parks were cleaned on the weekend; temporary dumpsites were vacated by Sunday night (and) garbage collection resumed the following week.”
Here's hoping that the 2009 strike is over, and Toronto's beautiful summer is truly about to begin.