Tag Archives: mayor david miller
New fee system for multi-unit buildings may boost dismal 16% diversion rate
David Rider – Toronto Star
About 75,000 residents of apartment buildings and condos across Toronto have lost access to the city’s recycling program in the past two years.
The culprit, city staff admit, is a confusing fee system that offers only skimpy rewards for recycling more diligently. It has driven about 375 of Toronto’s 5,000 multi-unit buildings out of the city system and to private removal companies.
“The waste rate program was unfair, punitive and untransparent,” Brad Butt of the Greater Toronto Apartments Association told the public works committee Wednesday, before its members voted to recommend that council adopt a new fee system as soon as possible.
“We have a considerable challenge in apartments to encourage residents to actively support recycling and waste diversion programs,” Butt said. “While we have made some significant strides, the goal of 70% waste diversion is still far off.”
Diverting 70% of household waste from landfill by 2011 was a re-election promise of Mayor David Miller in the 2006 campaign.
Halfway through 2010, the overall diversion rate stands at 44% — 60% for single-family homes and just 16% for multi-unit buildings. The city started rolling out green-bin service to buildings last year, with about 10% now participating.
Private haulers, by provincial law, only have to provide basic blue-box service, without accepting the electronics, organics and other extras the city recycles.
To stem the defection, staff consulted building owners and came up with a system they like.
The current system forces a building owner to make a significant cut in garbage produced per unit before they get a cut in the fee to haul it away. The new system would immediately reward even a small decrease in nonrecyclable waste. (Buildings aren’t charged for recyclables collected.)
Also, the confusing rate structure would be replaced with a basic one modelled on contracts offered by private providers.
Geoff Rathbone, the city’s general manager of solid waste management services, said he expects the loss of revenue from reduced fees under the new system will be offset by some of the 375 buildings rejoining the city system.
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Panel attacks plan for rinks on waterfront
Meghan Potkins, National Post
In a debate that has taken on culture-war overtones, architecture and design experts working on the city’s waterfront revitalization project have dubbed the city’s proposed waterfront sports complex a “2010 version of Home Depot” and are urging the city to reconsider its plans.
In a letter delivered yesterday to the president of Waterfront Toronto, the Waterfront Design Review Panel criticized the city’s decision to locate a sprawling four-rink hockey complex with parking in the Lower Don site, calling the proposed plan “short-sighted.”
The future of the city’s proposed waterfront sports complex is in doubt following a wave of opposition from members of the panel, with Mayor David Miller acknowledging this week that the city was prepared to “tinker” with the plans.
Several political schisms have emerged: urban vs. suburban, design vs. practicality, with the Mayor weighing in with one of his own, suggesting earlier this week that this was a choice between condos or recreation for children.
The Mayor’s remarks may have served to ramp up the rhetoric in a debate that by all accounts has already been conceded by the city. City staff confirmed that a review of the proposed plan was begun recently in response to the resignation two weeks ago of Ken Greenberg, a lead planner working on the sports complex.
The results of this review will hopefully come by the end of June — at which time, the sports complex will once again come before the design review panel for evaluation.
Jayne Naiman from the city’s waterfront secretariat, said the demand for recreational ice facilities in Toronto was “irrefutable” and that the city will have to balance the competing needs of the community with the recommendations of the design review panel.
“We need to marry all of these objectives,” Ms. Naiman said.
There were rumblings of disapproval from panel members ever since Mr. Greenberg resigned two weeks ago — but the letter, presented at a special panel meeting yesterday to address the issue, confirmed the panel’s opposition:
“The city’s decision to locate four ice hockey rinks and … parking facilities on this new precinct is short-sighted and shortchanges the vision to develop a vibrant civic community on the river’s mouth,” said panel members in the letter. “Are we building a suburb or a city?”
Panel chair and architect Bruce Kuwabara said he was pleased with the attention that the waterfront project has garnered and hopes to see the debate continue:
“When Canadians become as passionate about art, architecture and city-building as they are about hockey … then this city will have stepped forward,” Mr. Kuwabara said.
Several panel members, including Mr. Kuwabara, have expressed support for the construction of some kind of sports complex … but all members are united in their opposition to the current plan put forward by the city and championed by the Mayor.