Toronto's mayor toured Mayfair on the Green in Scarborough's Malvern neighbourhood Friday.
March 11, 2016
Mayor John Tory wants to spread the waste diversion lessons from a Scarborough condominium to highrises across Toronto.
Tory, Councillor Raymond Cho and some staff visited Mayfair on the Green condo in Malvern on Friday to meet with superintendent Princely Soundranayagam and the building’s residents.
The Star recently highlighted Mayfair on the Green after Toronto Environmental Alliance said the city should use the condo as a model to encourage others to keep waste out of the city’s rapidly filling landfill.
“I told him I wanted to get the information they give people when they move in, to describe the program,” Tory said in an email.
“I wanted to see if we could get a little booklet put together for other condos (probably electronic but it could be printed) but also that I would then like to have some kind of a challenge to get as many condo corporations as possible to sign up.”
The city is reviewing its long-term waste diversion strategy — only 53 per cent of waste is diverted now, far short of the 70 per cent target. Highrises average only 26 per cent. Mayfair and the Green diverts more than 85 per cent.
Soundranayagam and his 1,000 or so residents responded to skyrocketing waste fees with a multi-pronged campaign including converting the garbage chute into an organics collector. They also tapped city educational tools including multilingual signs and cut trash output to one dumpster every two months from one dumpster a week.
Those programs, plus collection of cooking oil, hazardous waste and more, has saved the condo a bundle.
“It’s very encouraging, we are humbled by the mayor’s visit,” Soundranayagam said a few hours after the unpublicized tour and meeting. “It has reaffirmed our commitment to divert as much waste as possible.”
In a video clip recorded by TEA’s Emily Alfred, Tory tells residents he would also like to “challenge” other buildings to match or better Mayfair’s diversion rate.
“We could say ‘You should be doing this and you should show that you can do it and save all the money and feel good about the environment. This whole building is a leader for the whole city,” Tory said.
Soundranayagam said that, since the Star story, other condos have asked him for diversion advice.
Alfred lauded Tory for taking up her invitation to visit Soundranayagam.
She hopes city staff consulting the public on diversion will recommend an aggressive, innovative strategy that includes fully leveraging community efforts like the one at Mayfair on the Green.
“This example is really inspiring people to know that zero waste is possible — we don't have any excuses, we have evidence that it works,” Alfred said.
“The city now such a good range of diversion programs — Princely used city signs and materials in multiple languages — so the city needs to help educate other building managers.”