Ensemble Montréal team proposes strategy to deal with garbage
Walking the streets of Parc-Extension a common problem quickly becomes apparent: the issue of garbage and cleanliness. Over the years, residents, politicians and organizations alike have brought up the issue of household waste and litter in the streets, alleyways and yards of Parc-Extension.
It is by no means uncommon to see mounds of trash and domestic waste littering the sidewalks of Parc-Extension on any day of the week. Food waste attracts all kinds of wildlife that rip bags open and spread trash even further. This is further compounded by some people throwing out large items like mattresses or furniture.
According to local city councillor and Ensemble Montréal candidate Mary Deros, it is one of the most recurring complaints she gets from residents across the district.
Ensemble Montréal announced on Wednesday morning that if elected, they would implement a strategy to tackle a problem that local mayoral candidate Guillaume Lavoie said has become widespread across the borough.
Lavoie along with all four borough city councillor candidates made the announcement on the corner of Liège and Querbes, in front of a pile of garbage bags brought out three days early which had since been spread across the sidewalk.
“Today, we’re announcing that not only is this is unacceptable, but this is also a failure of government, it’s a failure of leadership,” said Lavoie pointing to the bags of domestic waste. “Today we’re committing that cleanliness would be amongst the very top priorities,” he added.
The plan pledges more money and manpower. “There’ll be specific funds from the city center that will be transferred to the borough’s earmarked for cleanliness,” explained Lavoie, adding that a dedicated squad would respond to removing trash outside of dedicated hours.
The party also said it wanted to address illegal dumping, by pledging that any trash would be picked up within 48 hours of reporting. “That’s our commitment to the citizens of Parc-Ex,” added Lavoie.
Ensemble Montréal said it would also have to look more closely at contractors and people renovating homes who are not disposing of waste appropriately. “When the city gives permits for renovations, they need to also follow up by making sure that the debris is properly disposed of,” stated Deros.
“Not enough money is invested,” remarked Deros. “I was mentioning it, bringing photos, bringing up situations. Unfortunately, the mayor of the borough never followed up, did not feel it was important enough to address and so money was invested in keeping Parc-Ex clean,” added the councillor.
Many mechanisms already in place
Borough mayor Giuliana Fumagalli was nonetheless critical of the statement made by Ensemble Montréal, saying that her administration had been proactive in addressing the issue of litter and garbage.
“From our first year in office, my administration has invested time and energy into education programs about where and when to put out the trash,” said Fumagalli. “We have increased the summer cleanliness brigades, a great program that hires local young people to pick up litter on the major streets,” she added.
The mayor added that more could be done in supplying bigger bins to residents to address the problem at its source. “We have gotten more responsive when there is a complaint,” she added, explaining that “as soon as there is a report of trash out on the wrong day our services are there to clean it up.”
Mayor Fumagalli said that cleanliness was a top priority and cited a $200,000 program which she had offered to address the issue in Parc-Extension. “We need to all be working together on this issue: elected officials, residents and business owners,” she concluded.
Need for better education
Even though resources and funding are an important factor with trash and garbage in the borough, both Lavoie and Deros recognized that more had to be done in the education of residents around garbage etiquette.
“We have to be better at telling the citizens in the city in which they live what the procedures are,” remarked Lavoie. He added that people may not know garbage pick-up days when they move apartments. Garbage removal across Parc-Extension occurs on Friday, while larger apartment blocks see another pickup on Tuesdays.
“There’ll be extra efforts at sharing that information and dealing with partners such as Ville en vert or Éco-quartier,” added Lavoie. Such partners already work at the borough level to educate citizens on appropriate waste disposal practices.
Lavoie recognized that the new measures were reactive, but felt it would also help get the message across. “A garbage bag on a street corner calls for another one and another one,” he said, explaining that responding immediately would set a better example.