On November 29 2011, City Council approved the Toronto Water and Waste rate budgets for 2012. Fortunately, Councillors voted to keep 44 Community Environment Days, and rejected the proposal to subsidize water rates for companies that break the City's pollution regulations.
The proposed budgets were recommended by the Mayor's Executive Committee and included program cuts and weakening of standards that would have harmed the environment.
Read more about the 2012 Budget process.
Council overwhelmingly voted against the proposal to cut Community Environment Days down by 75% - from 44 events in each ward to only 11 across the City. These events provide access to safe disposal of hazardous waste, environmental education and many important programs brought to every neighbourhood.
Some councillors noted that the proposal to cut Community Environment Days by the Mayor's Executive Committee was contrary to the Council decision in September to keep Community Environment Days during the Core Service Review.
After much media attention, the Mayor's Executive Committee removed the initial budget proposal to eliminate the collection of overflow recycling -- recyclables placed in clear bags when bins are full. The proposal from Budget Committee would have meant residents with occasional excess recycling would have to order additional or larger bins, or store recyclables for two weeks. This is not possible for many residents in dense areas.
There is some good news - the City is adding another type of plastic to the Blue Box collection - clear rigid containers ('clamshells') commonly used for produce, eggs and baked goods.
Some other cuts to waste that were approved include delays to crucial capital infrastructure that is essential to diverting more waste from landfill, including a composting and biogas facility.
- More information:
- Read the final Council decision including City staff reports and information on the budget
- Detailed Financial Analyst notes on Waste Operating Budget
- TEA Media Release and media coverage(Globe & Mail, Toronto Star, InsideToronto & InsideToronto)
After many hours of debate about industrial water users and pollution in Toronto, Council voted against the Mayor's Executive Committee recommendation to subsidize water rates for industrial polluters.
Industrial water users have the option to get discounted water rates (called the Block 2 rate) if they create water efficiency plans and don’t break the City’s important water pollution by-laws. The budget proposed to remove this eligibility criteria and give the discount to all industries, whether they've been found to violate the pollution by-laws or not. Councillors voted to solve the administrative problems of the program, rather than scrap it altogether.
This would have cut City revenue by over $3 million, and would mean higher costs to the city to monitor and treat pollution.
- Read the final Council decision and Proposed budget and staff reports
- TEA Media release & Media coverage (National Post, InsideToronto)