Why not just truck it away?

As people wonder why temporary dumps that have closed aren’t being cleaned up, Mayor David Miller said such a move would be difficult and not practical.

“Certainly we would view that as crossing the picket line,” Local 416 president Mark Ferguson recently told the Toronto Star.

Ferguson added, “What’s going to resolve this strike is strong picket lines, and we’re not in a position to be removing the waste that has been set at the temporary dump sites. It is a visible indication of the important work that our members do every day.”

Some question the legality of using parks and recreation facilities as temporary waste dumps, but the city contends it has permission to operate them.

“It’s true that parking lots in parks or rinks were not designed or intended to host temporary garbage storage,” said Miller spokesperson Stuart Green. “But the Ministry of (the) Environment has given us the approval.”

The city wishes it didn’t have to store garbage, said city spokesperson Kevin Sack.

“Nobody wants these temporary dump sites,” he said. “In fact, we would agree with residents who wish they weren’t there, but the fact is they have to be to ensure the orderly management of garbage.”

The mayor is pleading for continued patience from citizens.

“We will clean the sites up very, very quickly after the strike is over,” Miller promised. “I understand in 2002 it took about 36 hours and everything was cleaned up.”

The mayor said he’s concerned about the strike’s impact on students who lost summer jobs, welfare recipients who may be losing benefits and children missing day camps.

“The garbage is being dealt with reasonably well,” Miller said.

On Friday, a week after the city publicized details of its latest contract offer, Miller decried the slow pace of bargaining. While he said some progress was made over the weekend, he’d like to see more.

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