Parc-Extension borough says it's taking action to address overflowing trash

·3 min read
Roberto Reginato has built up a reputation for his frequent complaints on Facebook about the trash, but he says he's just looking out for the neighbourhood.  (Rowan Kennedy/CBC - image credit)
Roberto Reginato has built up a reputation for his frequent complaints on Facebook about the trash, but he says he's just looking out for the neighbourhood. (Rowan Kennedy/CBC - image credit)

Roberto Reginato says if he called 311 every time he saw overflowing trash around Parc-Extension, it would become his full-time job.

If you take a stroll through the neighbourhood the giant piles of trash bags, cardboard boxes, old furniture and tires alongside homes and businesses are impossible to miss.

De Liège, Durocher and Saint-Roch streets and Wiseman Avenue are some of the problem areas — often featured in the photos Reginato posts to public Facebook groups.

"I had instances where my dogs were running after rats," he said. "We find calling 311 is just totally worthless."

Residents say the trash buildup really started getting out of hand after 2018, when garbage collection went from twice to once a week for buildings with fewer than eight units.

Submitted by Roberto Reginato
Submitted by Roberto Reginato

It's not just the city who's to blame, Reginato said, but also the businesses and neighbours who don't care enough to pay attention to the garbage collection schedule.

"Taking a walk is supposed to be something relaxing, enjoyable for everybody, but I'm walking in areas which are dirty and disgusting," he said.

Connie Buccheri has lived in the area for the last 15 years, and says the neighborhood is in the worst state she's seen since the problem first began about three years ago.

Rowan Kennedy/CBC
Rowan Kennedy/CBC

Since the borough is so densely populated she feels a different approach is needed, saying just one single-family home can generate a lot of trash.

"We just feel very neglected here," she said. "I think they should just go back to picking up garbage twice a week."

Trash 'blitz' coming

The borough mayor for Villeray-St-Michel-Parc-Extension says they've been toughening up their approach since this summer following the onslaught of complaints to 311.

Fines have gone up, Laurence Lavigne Lalonde said, increasing up to $250 for those receiving their first fine after a written warning, and up to $500 for repeat offenders.

"It is a shared responsibility. It is not only the responsibility of the borough to pick up trash. It's also the responsibility of the citizens to have good behaviour," she said.

CBC News
CBC News

In addition to doubling fines, the borough is also taking steps to educate residents about its collection schedule and how to properly sort waste. Workers with Eco-Quartier will be going door to door to talk to residents, and handing out pamphlets in the areas with the most foot traffic.

It's a neighbourhood that sees a lot of people moving in and out throughout the year, which is why more action is needed to make sure everyone is in the loop, regardless of what language they speak, she said.

Signs about how to properly dispose of waste can also now be spotted throughout the neighbourhood.

"I understand the frustration," Lavigne Lalonde said. "What we are implementing in Parc-Extension this year is different from what we've done before, because we know that there are issues."

Submitted by Roberto Reginato
Submitted by Roberto Reginato

Patrols have also been dispatched to problem areas seven days a week since June to clean up or issue warnings and fines. So far more than 100 inspections have happened, with 50 warnings doled out and 10 repeat offenders fined, she said.

A big trash 'blitz' is coming Monday, she warned.

Lavigne Lalonde says the borough isn't at a point yet where it's considering going back to twice a week garbage pickups for single homes and buildings with fewer than eight units.

That's because they're on board with the city's goal to divert more waste into recycling and compost, part of a plan to get more than 80 per cent of the city's waste out of landfills by 2030.

"Maybe we can change the [collection] dates, or increase collections happening on the same day," Lavigne Lalonde said. "We are listening."

Residents can find their neighbourhood's waste collection schedule by entering their address into the city's website.

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