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Pop-up garbage dumps frustrating Scarborough resident

Pam Seatle | posted Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

It’s not the kind of semi-permanent “installation” you want to see pop up in your neighbourhood: heaps of garbage left there by winter and windstorms.

A Scarborough woman, who doesn’t want to be identified, says the detritus that collects in areas near Kennedy Road and St. Clair Avenue East is not just a seasonal problem. She has been complaining about it for the last 15 years

“I just want it cleaned up,” the woman told CityNews.” I live here, but even if this was just an industrial area, why do we have this? Why do thousands of commuters have to look out the window of a GO train and see this?”

The resident admits while some of the garbage has drifted or blown in, tires, bags of garbage and other debris are often intentionally discarded.

And it’s not just near the tracks; it’s also along the sidewalks — despite prominent “no dumping” signs.

The woman said the frustrating thing is no one is taking responsibility. She said she gets bounced back and forth between the City of Toronto, the TTC, Hydro One, Toronto Hydro and Metrolinx.

Metrolinx spokeswoman Anne Marie Aikins said it is sometimes difficult to determine who owns which property and, therefore, who is responsible for cleaning it up.

But Aikins said Metrolinx is responsible for the section of the rail corridor in question inside the fence. She said this is the time of year when they get resident complaints because this is when garbage becomes visible after the winter.

“We have 500 kilometres of rail that have lots of areas that are a concern this time of year,” she said. “So we coordinate a spring cleanup and we try to coordinate with our partners like CN and CP and municipalities and whoever owns that property.

“Just in the middle as we’re starting our cleanup this year, we had a huge, huge windstorm. Which distributed garbage and trees and roofing all over the rail corridors right across the region, so it really increased the amount of cleanup we had to do this spring.”

The city said crews do their best to keep on top of litter and do an annual comprehensive city wide cleanup in the spring. But it admits illegal dumping is a big challenge because cleanup is costly and enforcement is difficult because the person has to be caught in the act.

The office for Coun. Michelle Holland said it’s aware of the garbage issues in the ward and has made repeated phone calls to the various agencies to ensure they follow up.

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