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Issues & Policies


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Cracking Down on Curb Lane Hogs: Reducing Idling and Making Cycling Safer

With the support of City Council, I have more than doubled the fines for drivers who stop or park illegally on arterial roads during rush hour. It is now a $150 penalty for "stopping, standing, or parking a vehicle during all or any portion of the general rush hour period(s) of 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and or 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday to Friday except Public Holidays where official signs to prohibit parking, standing or stopping are displayed."

 

Far too often, entire lanes of major roads are blocked due to an individual pulling over to grab a coffee in the morning or a delivery vehicle choosing the afternoon rush period to drop off their goods. Drivers along arterials often use bicycle lanes as a parking lane, forcing cyclists to dangerously merge into traffic. During rush hour this creates very unsafe conditions for cyclists. Although this has never been permitted, it was clear that the old fines and levels of enforcement were not sufficient to deter such activities.

   

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News release: Toronto Adding New Plastic Items to Its Blue Bin Program

Dear Residents,

 

I'd like to share this news release with you from the City of Toronto. Now you can recycle plastic clamshell containers in your blue bin! To find out where to put all your other trash items, you can visit the Waste Wizard web tool.

 

The City of Toronto's Public Works and Infrastructure Committee received a report today from Solid Waste Management Services that will result in Toronto introducing the collection of mixed rigid plastics this fall through the City's Blue Bin program. The new items include clamshell containers, clear fruit and vegetable containers, clear takeout containers and molded bakery-item trays.

 

Until recently, the City could not recycle mixed rigid plastics. New developments spearheaded by the Canadian grocery retail industry, along with advancements in recycling and sorting technology, have removed the obstacles to recycling these plastic materials.

 

Solid Waste Management undertook a year-long pilot project at the Dufferin Material Recovery Facility (MRF), which currently handles about half of the City's recycling. The project confirmed that the facility now has the capability to sort the new plastics and meet the specifications to market the materials. In May 2013, when the City's new processing contractor, Canada Fibers Ltd., begins operating its new material recovery facility, all of Toronto's recyclables will be processed in state-of-the-art sorting facilities that can sort and prepare these new, mixed rigid-plastic items for end-use markets.

 

"This is good news for Toronto. Accepting this range of items in recycling will mean fewer materials going into the garbage and ending up in landfill," said Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong (Ward 34 Don Valley East), Chair of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee.

 

Solid Waste estimates the cost to collect and recycle the new plastic materials will be approximately $160,000 in 2013. The inclusion of mixed rigid plastics will result in the diversion of 2,000 tonnes annually from landfill. The recycled plastics will be manufactured into products for industrial and household end uses.

 

"We are excited about this next step in our recycling capability," said Jim Harnum, General Manager of Toronto's Solid Waste Management Services division. "So many foods and products that we use every day are packaged in this type of plastic. Residents can now feel good about putting these items in the Blue Bin instead of the garbage."

 

Residents should continue to perform current set out and recycling practices, such as emptying and rinsing food containers to remove residue. They can check Waste Wizard, the City's online search tool, if they have questions about particular items. If residents need more room to accommodate these new recyclables, they can call 311 to upsize their current Blue Bin or order an extra Blue Bin free of charge.

 

A group of students from Jackman Public School in Toronto attended the committee meeting today and were recognized for their avid interest in Toronto's recycling program. The students wrote to the City earlier this year inquiring about when clear clamshell containers could be recycled in Toronto.

   

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MacPherson Avenue "Ecopark"

Since taking office, I have been working with community members on an exciting proposal to transform the hydro corridor on Macpherson Avenue (between Spadina and Davenport) from a derelict eyesore into a usable public space. I was happy to support a local resident's application for a City of Toronto grant to build a demonstration "Ecopark" with solar panels, community gardens, native plants and an electric car.

 

This is an opportunity for the City to demonstrate its commitment to renewable energy, environmental stewardship and innovative public spaces. The new green space will also provide an educational experience for local schoolchildren from the Waldorf School, Huron Public School and Cottingham Public School.

   

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