Thursday, September 21, 2006

Toronto's Toilet

The more I think about it the angrier I get - David Miller's incredible sense of entitlement to think that he could just shove a secret deal through to get rid of his own problem. He has literally dumped it on Southwestern Ontario, and we are livid!

Did he think the London-St. Thomas area would just meekly accept this decision and all the Toronto table scraps that go with it?

The lack of empathy and goodwill is chilling. Any other sludge or vermin you want to send our way, Mayor Miller?

I feel sorry for our neighbours to the west who appear to have no recourse. Those along the 401 corridor will also have to continue to tolerate the garbage convoys that are presently going to Michigan, which is closing its door to the trash in a few years.

We here in Southern Ontario can't vote Miller out, but we can do the next best thing - We can vote with our wallets and boycott Toronto.

We can also vote out Miller's best friend - "Conservative MPP Tim Hudak said Toronto Mayor David Miller clearly has more influence with Premier Dalton McGuinty than his own London-area MPPs." - Toronto Sun.

More Links:

- Miller's Deal is Garbage: Toronto Sun editorial
- "Masters of our Own Destiny" - (Sounds like a Seinfeld episode)
- (Area) Politicians not happy - CTV
- A few interesting comments in today's Letters in the Sun.

I think this has potential to become a wedge issue in the next provincial election; not to mention the upcoming municipal one. It's certainly dividing the Liberal Cabinet:

"I think it is important for municipalities to have a management plan for their waste and Mayor (David) Miller has taken that step," (Environment Minister Laurel) Broten said.

Some of her cabinet colleagues don't see things quite that way.

"Every municipality needs to deal with garbage, in the long-term, in its own backyard. That's diversion, new technologies or (building) your own landfill," said Chris Bentley, minister of training, colleges and universities, and MPP for London-West.

The whole thing may become a stinking mess for McGuinty.

Well on the plus side for him, our attention has been diverted from Caledonia for the moment.

* * * *

Hey, I have the solution! McGuinty can buy up all those houses in Caledonia where the residents are fed up and wanting to leave but can't because of plummeting real estate values. Dalton can solve both problems by giving the homeowners a fair price for their homes, and then bulldozing them all to make room for a dump, and then gift it to Toronto.

Miller will save money from decreased trucking costs, and everyone will be happy. Anyone care to hire me as a consultant?

Update: More from another BT, Joseph Lavoie.


Steve said...

Whatever the merits of the actual deal, this is just NIMBY talking. Toronto has to dump its garbage somewhere and is buying the land so it has a place to dump it. If there are environmental problems with this plan, then deal with it that way. In the meantime, can you tell me how your garbage is any different?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

can you tell me how your garbage is any different?

Well, for starters there's less of it.

However maybe we can return the favour and dump it in Miller's office.

Steve said...

They bought a piece of property that is zoned as a dump. They probably paid a lot. There'll be more than a few jobs thrown in on your side. So what is the problem?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Steve, have you decided who you're voting for in the municipal election yet? Just curious.

vicki said... are right about 'needing a dump' What I see as most offensive about all this is the secret backroom decisions. There are the 2 extremes in of dragging an issue on and on ad nauseum, appearing to be doing something and getting no where.(Example:Fed Libs and softwood lumber.. Emerson and Harper acted clearly openly and quickly and got it done.)
The other extreme is Miller's method in this.I think Miller saw that he was going to lose the next election and just decided to take the big step and fast....the method stinks, and it's all about the vote.Nobody in London will be voting for or against Miller. say goodbye to any London people involved in this....unless there are big bucks for the municipality.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

There'll be more than a few jobs thrown in on your side.

Funny that there wasn't a ribbon-cutting ceremony or the traditional politicians-with-the-spade-in-the ground photo-op. They still managed to shovel it though.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...


Of course there's less of it!!!

Duh! More people = More garbage. It's not rocket science.

People act as though Miller is bulldozing a park in downtown London to dump our garbage in.

The city bought a landfill site. They're going to use it as a landfill site. If London is SO upset that the landfill will contain Toronto garbage instead of London garbage, maybe they'd like to buy the dump back?

Now the secrecy is a little disturbing, as the people of Toronto certainly have a right to know how 220 million dollars of their money is being spent, and I don't claim to know if this is a good short-term solution, but that garbage has to go somewhere. Seems to me that incineration is a good plan, but I don't know much about the environmental concerns (and how they compare to the environmental concerns of just piling it all up in a dump). And certainly, the dump must comply with any and all environmental and other regulations, and as the dump is in another municipality, I would take that to include any bylaws of that municipality (which would suggest, if people are upset, they should make dumping bylaws dramatically more strict in their municipality, to make this type of deal less palitable (though keep in mind, if you're going to advocate that, then dumps containing London garbage in the municipality would also have to meet those by-laws)).

One thing I wonder, is how London manages to have landfill sites just sitting around waiting to be bought? What if Kitchener had bought the site to ship their garbage there? (I have no idea if Kitchener has garbage to send, I just pulled that example out of a hat). No offence to the politicians of Southwestern Ontario, but how did a $220 million sale of a landfill site happen without them knowing about it? Because the only explanation I can think of, is that no one cared what garbage was going to get dumped there, until it came out that it was Toronto garbage. It was all just a private real estate deal until it turn out to involve the evil empire. And that makes the howls ring a little hollow to me.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Duh! More people = More garbage. It's not rocket science.

Yes, well, I thought I was stating the obvious. Thanks for expanding on it.

You make an interesting point though. How is it that this type of huge deal can be made without input from the municipalities? I'm all for private enterprise, but I would think that this has to have some kind of environmental impact, even if all the rules are being followed.

What do my libertarian readers think about this?

Miller won't even consider incineration because it has bad political karma.

What if Kitchener had bought the site to ship their garbage there? I wouldn't blame London for being hopping mad if it was all done in secret.

liberal supporter said...

The story I read said that Toronto was already sending some garbage to this site (which is already an operating landfill), but they charge a higher rate than Michigan. The rate would be lower if they bought it. I don't think that rate includes amortizing the capital cost of course, but for Miller, that's somebody else's problem.

One problem is that the site will have a much larger volume going into it, filling it faster. So it does create a problem down the road for London and area, since they will eventually need more landfills themselves.

And the secrecy, lack of transparency and openness does stink. You can play partisan with this, and try to link it to Dolton somehow, or you could compare it to the "new" federal government's 8 BILLION dollar aircraft order to Boeing, which of course was untendered and put together by a former defence industry lobbyist (now minister in the government).

More results would be obtained by skipping the partisan stuff and just trying to stop the dump intensification.

Unfortunately for this situation, Ford in St. Thomas escaped the axe, so there is not a huge pool of underemployed to be the protesters that could occupy the site.

Here's another approach: You may have heard about the guy running for office in California who is launching a class action against GM and Ford, demanding they pay for "global warming", since their products are causing a lot of the greenhouse gases. It is being dismissed as an election stunt, but I would be filing class actions against the dump itself, for drastically expanding the volume of garbage, "dump intensification".

They want to build a new interchange on the 401 just for the Toronto trucks. That demonstrates it is a drastic expansion of intensity of use. They only have to file the suit, so that even though Toronto goes into election not knowing how much they are paying for the dump, they would know that there is a 1 Billion dollar lawsuit now attached to it.

Meanwhile, Dolton is putting a new natural gas fired power station in Toronto, and His Blondness is displeased. I don't have the exact quote, but he said putting a power generator "right next to another one" at Cherry Beach "makes no sense". Seems to me putting two plants beside each other makes a lot of sense, they can probably share staff and facilities, all the wires in and out, transformers etc.

Lord Miller is also displeased with the planes at the Island airport. If he could stop a bridge to the island, inconveniencing the airport, surely the 401 interchange for David's Dump can be stopped as well.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

I just went through some of the links, and I found three things interesting.

First, this is a privately owned dump. Seems to me, if they want to fly in trash from California, and there are no regulations against that, then there's really nothing that can be done (of course, now it belongs to T.O., so that won't happen). One can argue against privately owned dumps (I might even agree, haven't really thought about it) but I have a feeling that ship has sailed, long ago. As for environmental impact studies, I would assume those would take place when a dump is first started up (or zoned). This dump has been going for a while, so I don't think a change in ownership means a whole new assessment about whether the dump can continue to be a dump. That doesn't make sense to me.

Second, the dump has enough capacity to take the added load from Toronto for another TWENTY YEARS. Not an argument in favour or against, just, "wow, it's already a big dump" (again, no parks or native lands are being bulldozed to CREATE a dump).

Third, and most importantly, you'll notice I said in the second point "added load". That's because the dump was ALREADY RECEIVING GARBAGE FROM TORONTO. Not only that, but garbage from other municipalities as well. This was a privately owned dump, willing and able to take garbage from anywhere (within the law of course, I assume) and now it's a Toronto owned dump, which will only take garbage from Toronto (which makes me wonder where the garbage that used to go there from other municipalities will go now, but that's another story).

The more I read, the more I personally see this as a tempest in a teapot.

Does anyone know how much (if ANY) of the garbage in this private dump was previously coming from the local municipality? Because if other municipalities have been shipping garbage there along with Toronto, and now it will just be Toronto, what's really changed other than the fact that hated Toronto is sending more garbage there, and other jurisdictions less??? Do people hate Toronto so much that they think our garbage is less worthy of being dumped in their privately owned dumps than the garbage of their other neighbours? Because, to me, that seems silly.

I think people in Toronto probably have more to be upset about than people in London (given that, to me, this seems more like a 20 year stop-gap than a long-term strategy... though perhaps the long-term plan is to come). Seems to me the "secrecy" angle is not at all about keeping this secret from London (though that was an added side benefit I suppose) it's about keeping it secret from Torontonians. This is a private land deal for a private landfill already receiving trash from Toronto, and elsewhere. Miller, it seems to me, could have had a Prime Time news conference announcing the decision on CBC and there would be little politicians in London could do but howl. They weren't keeping it secret from other municipalities, they were keeping it secret from Toronto. No less devious, I agree, but it is a whole different context.

Anonymous said...

Miller is idiot...that is clear...he demonstrates it everytime he opens his mouth. But Miller is the front man for the vast left-wing machinery comprised of both politicans and bureaucrats who control Toronto municipal politics.

However, let's not forget the architect of the current Toronto garbage crisis: none other than Jack Layton. Sleazy Jack led a hysterical disingenous fight against the Kirkland Lake solution a few years ago when he was on council. Now the abandoned mine with minimal environmental impact looks like utopia when compared to the current alternatives.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Seems to me the "secrecy" angle is not at all about keeping this secret from London (though that was an added side benefit I suppose) it's about keeping it secret from Torontonians.

Mmmm... Lots of interesting angles to this. Here's another wrinkle. Is it related? I'll let you connect the dots.

PGP said...

Well this is really interesting!

I'm inclined to think that this really is a NIMBY issue. Although, with the TO propensity for being the 600lb gorilla in the room ( Ontario )....I'd say it certainly is worth looking at and commenting on.

The first thing that strikes me is how the heck this stayed out of the news for so long. I'm guessing that the landfill operation in question was allways a plan"b" for the city and the province.
The second is that these landfills and waste amanagement sites are going to become assets in the near future. This is due to the rapidly developing technology of "Gasification" which although not new is now at the point where most of the operational bugs are worked out and the economics of energy are tilting toward the right side of the equation. This will allow anyone who has enough waste, especially petroleum waste and typical municipal waste to use there landfill as a fuel source.

As an unrelated aside another NIMBY issue has resurfaced .....The Pickering Airport project is again under review by Transport Canada....local opponents are very annoyed that there is no ongoing public consultation.

Anonymous said...

While I can think of some objections to the price of the deal and the additional costs that Toronto taxpayers will be forced to carry (Garbage that went to Michigan for $63/ton will now cost $88/ton), none of the opponents to this have any actual solution what to do with this garbage otherwise. The catch phrase of dealing with Toronto's garbage locally means exactly what?

The hysterical outpourings of our local politicians in London should be landfilled as well. The garbage problem was well known for most of their political careers (and they are career politicians), so this is no surprise to anyone.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

PGP - Very interesting about the gasification. I've never heard of that before. Any idea of the environmental impact of using garbage as fuel?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

L.S. Very interesting comments. I love the Dolton and His Blondness references! So I take it you aren't a big fan?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Does anyone know how much (if ANY) of the garbage in this private dump was previously coming from the local municipality? I read that Guelph among other local municipalities uses it.

The Star has an interesting take on the whole situation. Seems that 'His Blondness' missed an earlier cheaper opportunity.

PGP said...

Gasification - Is a process where controlled combustion takes place.
The controlled process produces combustable gas and inert ash. It is similar to the process for making charcoal.

The ability to manage the burn process and control the fuel/air feed and gas extraction is critical to sustainable and economical operation. Fuel supply quantity and quality is important.
Municipal garbage that has settled and dried ( to 10% moisture or so )in a landfill is an allmost ideal fuel. You know all those plastic containers and packaging? They help combust paper and organic waste! This can be combined with waste petroleum to help eliminate another environmental hazard. The process is high heat and completely destructive to bio-hazard waste. The gas byproduct is similar to propane and can be used for heat generation and any subsequent energy systems like electricity.

There is currently massive development and research going into gasifiers for turning coal into clean fuel.

This technology is about to become mainstream.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Wow, that's amazing, PGP. Thanks for that info. I had never heard of it before. Sounds like a win-win for sure.

C. LaRoche said...

Joanne: I take it you do NOT live on Bloor and Young?


Steve said...

Steve, have you decided who you're voting for in the municipal election yet?

Not for Miller.

Red Tory said...

The controlled process produces combustable gas and inert ash.

Sounds like certain blogs I know of... ;-)

Joanne (True Blue) said...

C. Laroche - Joanne: I take it you do NOT live on Bloor and Young? Sorry, I missed what you were referring to here - garbage perhaps? No, you couldn't pay me to live there! lol. We did actually live in Toronto once upon a time, but thank God we got outta there!!! The area where we used to live has gone steadily downhill. We get updated on the murders and stabbings by the media. Just enough to keep us from feeling too homesick.

BTW, I checked out your "Informed Confusion" and was quite amused to see Joanne's Journey listed under 'Poli Geeks', along with Riley and Calgary Grit. That's probably one of the better labels I've been given. Red Tory, on the other hand, keeps switching me from 'Conservadroid' to 'Gormlass Asshat' and back again depending on what side of the bed he gets up on that day.

Steve - Not for Miller. At least we have this much in common. Any particular reason why?

Red - Cute. One of your better zingers, I must admit. See? You don't have to use four-letter words to be witty!

Sydney said...

Bloor and Young?

I thought I would comment on one of the first comments posted here. More people = more garbage. While this may be true, I can't help but wonder the amount of garbage that one person produces in Toronto when compared to other municipalities. Having lived in in the GTA myself for a couple of years I can't help but be reminded of the number of people in Toronto that do not consider the environment when putting out their trash. From my personal knowledge, there is much less recycling and other forms of prevention to reduce the amount going to landfills in Toronto than in other Ontario cities. I'm not saying that Toronto is the only city, but I can't help but think that Toronto is such a large city and doing some of these preventative measures would certainly go a long way.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Sydney, I agree. Everyone needs to think about how they can reduce the amount of garbage they put out at the curb each week.

I'm not sure how advanced Toronto is in the recycling area. The city of Guelph is an excellent role model, with their experimentation with wet and dry waste recycling and composting.

I'm not exactly a Green Freak, but I do think we should all do our part. I feel very guilty if I toss an empty jam jar in the garbage, because I'm too lazy in rinse it out and toss it in the blue box.

liberal supporter said...

Toronto has a lot of older high rise apartment buildings, and on each floor the garbage room will have a laundry chute type of arrangement for throwing garbage down. Usually that room has no space for a recycle bin, and so no recycling. Half the time the room has garbage all over the place anyway, because everyone sends their kids with the garbage and nobody checks. Whereas on the city street, everyone sees when the garbage is badly delivered to the curb, and when some things like cardboard are not gift wrapped, they are left behind, to the unending embarrassment of the home owner. Rough justice but it works.

The point being that yes, you will probably see less overall recycling with older high rise apartments. They may have bins on ground level but they tend to be not used, except for larger items (mattress bags, boxes for TVs etc). For places like that, bottle deposits/returns work well, but general recycling is not convenient enough for many apartment dwellers.

PGP said...

Hey RT that was a good one!
Got me laughing mate fair dinkum!

Red Tory said...

See? You don't have to use four-letter words to be witty!

And good fun was had by all. Gee, I even got a laugh out of PGP.

Oh, come on Joanne, when was the last time I used a "naughty" word? Ahhh... I bet you can't remember, can you?