As the stench of rotting garbage wafts over Christie Pits on a balmy summer day, residents scrawl a message in multi-coloured chalk on the adjacent street: “Parks are not dumps.”

As a third week dawns in the labour dispute between the city and its workers, those living near flash points are doing whatever they can to be heard.

When the city’s public health department ordered inspectors to assess the refuse at Christie Pits and cloak it with a cocktail of insecticide and chemical deodorant, those inspectors were blocked by pickets on at least two occasions. According to the city, they sought and won a court injunction Saturday, enabling them to resume. But as public health officials began spraying pesticides on the downtown park being used as a temporary dump site yesterday, residents said they were feeling helpless.

“I get the feeling we’re being held hostage for political expediency,” local resident Boris Steipe said.

City spokeswoman Patricia Trott insists the legal proceeding was done with the health and safety of the public in mind.

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