April 26, 2011
Toronto's Public Works and Infrastructure Committee is now dealing with one of the major issues that propelled Rob Ford into the mayor's office — garbage collection.
The committee is hearing from people and groups who mostly oppose the mayor's plan to privatize garbage collection west of Yonge Street.
In the summer of 2009 Toronto's municipal workers went on strike - with the most visible sign being the heaps of garbage in the city.
In his 2010 election campaign Ford promised to privatize garbage collection.
But because of collective agreements with municipal workers, to start with he'll only be able to privatize collection west of Yonge Street and east of Etobicoke, where trash pick-up is already contracted out.
On Tuesday the committee heard from environmentalists, city workers, union representatives and ordinary citizens — most of whom do not want to see the city privatize trash collection.
A recent staff report said privatizing collection could save $8-million annually by eliminating 300 temporary positions and associated capital costs.
The private contract is estimated to be worth $20 million per year over the next seven years. There are also projections that the cost could jump to $270 million based on current budget figures.
If the decision is made to approve the move, Ford wants a committee made up of city staff to select the winning trash collection bid. Some city councillors say such an action would set a dangerous precedent. They want full council — not a staff committee — to approve such an important decision.
As Originally Published: Toronto talks privatizing trash