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Home » Open Clamshell, TOStrike

TOStrike – Christie Pits Dump Site now a Hazardous Spill ?

Christie Pits Park Water Sample July 1 2009 at 6:00 pm Photo License is Creative Commons Zero and is in the Public Domain. Canada Day 6:00 pm

This photo is of a water sample that Christie Pits Park neighbourhood resident Boris Steipe took from the Christie Pits Park ice rink , where the water is currently about 5-7 cm high.

CUPE has prevented access for the sewage truck that was supposed to take away some of the toxic "leachate", to facilitate getting more garbage in.

CUPE has confirmed that they will continue to prevent such access.

It was expected that the dump site would be full by noon on Canada Day, however that was not the case.

The garbage from Canada Day was mostly stacked upon bags that were already there.

The garbage is now being piled higher throughout the rink to keep the site open for as long as possible.

This means it can’t just be dumped from the truck but needs to be handled, bag by bag , by the non-unionized men and women who are staffing the site .

Hazardous Spill ?

At this point, the dump site in Christie Pits Park may indeed qualify as a hazardous spill since leachate is being left untreated and leaking.

At the very least, according to the Ministry of the Environment ‘s own guidelines , the Ministry has to make a report and possibly visit the Christie Pits dump site .

What is Leachate ?

To answer that, we visit Wikipedia and find an enlightening article detailing exactly how dangerous leachate is.

The line which gives the Friends of Christie Pits Park the most pause:

"…there are also substantial risks from illegal sites and ad-hoc sites used by criminal gangs to dispose of waste materials. "

Canada Day 10:15 pm

Christie Pits Dump Site Entrance

Orkin (the company contracted to apply the pest-control toxins in the parks) wanted to enter the site to resume spraying, accompanied by City staff.

However, CUPE prevented access.

The police was called in to mediate and the discussions became interesting.

Apparently, The City has a permit from the Ministry of Environment to operate this as a temporary dump, on the condition of regular pest control. Friends of Christie Pits Park learned that "regular " in this case means spraying in 24 hour intervals, with a 24 hour window in case an application is missed.

The City’s manager confirmed that the last time Orkin sprayed was on Monday morning, June 29, now more than 60 hours ago .

As CUPE and police were negotiating, CUPE made clear that their agreement with their liaison officer had called for spraying Thursday morning, not then. The police reached an agreement with CUPE to permit access, under conditions.

However, at that point neighbours who live right next to the "dump " demanded to know what exactly was being sprayed and whether it could be guaranteed that they would not be exposed to health risks.

Even though the City staff had a copy of the MSDS sheets with him, he obviously was not in a position to comment on health risks.

The police sergeant proposed that the citizens should call their councillor . Yet everyone knows by now that the local city councillor and resident Deputy Mayor has been MIA.

The police determined that neither the City representative nor the Orkin employee could be certain of imminent risks if spraying was delayed. Thus the police sent the City and Orkin away for the night, to give everyone – the citizens and CUPE – time until Thursday to clarify their positions regarding potential health risks and risk management.

Questions Raised in the past 24 hours

  • Is the City now falling behind its obligations under their permit?
  • And what does that mean for the permit?
  • Why is the City not actively engaging with residents to clarify the health and environmental issues?
  • Who can the residents turn to?
  • How toxic is the leachate that will enter the soil and groundwater after the next rainstorm.
  • How toxic are the gases and aerosols that are now rising from the dump?

For Boris Steipe, walking around the park last night after everybody had gone their way, the stench wafting up across Barton Street from the former ice rink is nearly unbearable. Boris quickly got a headache and he certainly didn’t linger around the park.

Boris asks, "Is this a mere inconvenience ?"

New Cottage Industry

Meanwhile, Toronto has a new cottage industry: private entrepreneurs are picking up commercial waste from restaurants etc.

The going rate is understood to be $3.50 a bag, and then carting it to the temporary dump sites .

There, it becomes "my neighbour’s", "my tenant’s", "my elderly grandmother’s" …garbage. Residential garbage that is.

Customer Service have even had an instance where they turned back a trailer that was bigger than their own truck!

Day 11 and week 2 of TOStrike continues today.


  • Govind Rao says:

    Hi everyone,

    I wanted to let everyone know that I lodged an official complaint with the Ministry of the Environment about half an hour ago.

    The basis of the complaint is that:
    a) the city is in violation of its permit to operate a temporary dump site,
    b) the leachate and toxins contained in the garbage pose an
    environmental hazard to people and animails in the area and in the

    I encourage others to file a complaint as well. The number is:
    1-866-MOE-TIPS (1-866-663-8477)

    Tom will be making a call to the “Reporting Spills and Environmental
    Emergencies” number today, “Call Toll Free: 1-800-268-6060”, and I
    will do the same.

    I think that by pursuing the environmental consequences of the dump
    through the responsible agencies possibly could result in an order by the Ministry to shut down the dump and remove the garbage.

    As of this moment the city is operating an illegal dump site in Christie Pits!

  • acer says:

    And once again the unions do themselves no favours. I supposed we’re just supposed to drown in the garbage at our residences instead.


    Then negotiate like adults instead of stamping your feet and irritating everyone.

    Unions are necessary to stop the inevitable creeping exploitation of workers that businesses do to increase profitability….but the Unions of Toronto seem to undermine that premise with their goon’ish tactics, wildcat strikes and general disrespect for the people who actually pay their salaries.