TORONTO — Politicians were trash talking for most of the beginning of Tuesday’s Public Works and Infrastructure Committee meeting at city hall.
Councillors welcomed Ingersoll Mayor Ted Comiskey to the meeting, who railed against a possible plan to ship Toronto’s garbage to a quarry near his town.
“It’s preposterous,” he said. “Waste is a problem, but sending it to another community is not the answer.”
Comiskey worries toxins from garbage will leach into the water table near his town in Oxford County and poison its residents. The possible site is currently a limestone quarry 800 metres east from the border of Ingersoll.
“Every landfill liner leaks. This is a limestone quarry and limestone is extremely porous which means anything that leaks beyond the liner is going to be sucked in by the rock and make its way into the water table,” he said.
“I am not prepared to put the drinking water of my citizens at risk.”
Toronto must decide soon what to do with tonnes of physical garbage residents in the city produce. Its current dumping site, the Green Lane Landfill, will run out of room in 2029 at the current rate of recycling.
“85 per cent of the average waste that comes out of a household in Toronto is divertible. But we’re only diverting 53% of it right now,” said Emily Alfred, senior campaigner with the Toronto Environmental Alliance.
The worst offenders are multi-residential buildings according to Alfred. “Apartments divert about 26% of their waste.”
“This is a big city and we have to do a better job of diverting,” said committee chair Jaye Robinson, adding that much of the focus of the new waste management strategy currently being studied will target multi-residential buildings.
“We have to do a way better job of education and outreach.”
Many who live in apartments aren’t fully aware of the diversion programs available to them.
Other recommendations include by-laws that would mandate recycling in apartments and a vacuum system that would collect used household items.
Deputants at Tuesday’s committee meeting even re-introduced the idea of a plastic bag ban.
“The amount of plastic people are finding in their neighbourhood, on our city beaches – it’s something definitely we should explore,” said Robinson.
The final report will be presented in late Spring and is expected to make it’s way to council in July.
“Every municipality should look at what it’s producing and look at what to do with it themselves,” said Comiskey, who tried to get a meeting with the mayor but was not able to.
In a statement to Global News, John Tory’s office wrote, “The Mayor appreciates Mayor Comiskey coming to City Hall to provide his feedback on the City’s waste management strategy. Our staff will take his comments into consideration when developing the final strategy.”