Centre For Local Research into Public Space (CELOS)

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June 28, 2009, 4 e-mail

B. S. wrote:

I just got off the phone with Reg Ayre who is on call today for the City's Public Health Officer, regarding spraying of Christie Pits. Those of you who were there this morning know that concerned citizens prevented a Rentokil truck from entering the site. It seems that Rentokil was instructed to apply pesticides ONLY in the morning and/ or at night, when the site was closed to public traffic. However Reg Ayre was not sure whether the intent was to apply a deodorizer and that might be possible at all times. The driver of the truck had refused to inform us what he was going to spray, telling me that this information was available - in his words - only to the City, not to "common citizens".

According to the Health Office, the pesticide that is being used is Permethrin, a contact insecticide with a short half-life (7 days) that rapidly degrades in sunlight and has no documented embryotoxic (poisonous to the developing embryo) or teratogenic (leading to birth defects) potential for humans. Its cancer inducing potential is low in most application scenarios. Permethrin is generally safe for most mammals, not however for cats. In cats it can lead to seizures.

Permethrin is registered for many uses in the agricultural or food processing industry and Public Health. In case you are interested, here is a factsheet from the US EPA (2006). http://www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/REDs/factsheets/permethrin_fs.htm

Regarding the "deodorant", I am waiting to hear back what precisely is being used here, but according to Reg Ayre this substance is so non-toxic that "it does not even have an MSDS". I'll keep you posted when I hear more.

--- In my opinion, even though the final balance indicates the risk from the insecticide may be lower than the risk from flies if no insecticide would be used, this does not justify the choice of a park as a garbage dump. Not using the City's parks as dumps would not have created risk in the first place.</opinion>

S. wrote:

We showed up late this morning after you'd left. I gotta tell you, I was shocked and saddened by what I saw. Recently a couple of us pondered whether surrounding affluent areas would dump in CP Park. I'm here to tell you that I saw it. BMW SUV's, Escalades, people obviously not from around here (do you have those cars parked on your street?) who made the drive to dump in our neighborhood. They weren't all, but there were many. One guy even had on a Forest Hill golf shirt. Our park is being used as a dump by people who wouldn't ever tolerate such a thing in their neighborhood. And the way in which they were so able to ignore community members just *talking* to them was an eye-opener. It was as if they had a lot of practice. Okay, enough cynicism...

I was so proud of people standing up for parks there. The volunteers made flyers, and handed out alternative non-park garbage station lists, and also a really well done flyer on how to manage your home waste so you can keep it longer. A particularly proud moment (for me) came when the picketers actually blocked an Orkin truck until they could get word on what they would be spraying there (already!). It's so tragic what could trickle down to the community garden when it rains, and the playground.

While I was there, a volunteer told me that 19 dump sites are in only 10 (or was it 11?) wards. That's of 44 wards. So some have two and some have none. He said if you do a search for "target areas" of key social improvement programs by the city (read: struggling neighborhoods) you find the dump sites. It's pretty well known that struggling communities are less politically organized and savvy, so they get taken advantage of. How are we doing on that front?

Oh, and it stinks. From three blocks away.

G. R. wrote:

Hi all, We received this message from Chris at Sunnyside beach. Is there anyone who would be willing to contact and meet with him to see if our groups can coordinate? If so, please email him directly, and let Monica and me know.

K. H. wrote:

Hey Guys:

Today I chased a guy out of the park who was going to dump his garbage there. He told me that in China they just dump garbage in the river....so I told him this is Canada and in Canada we need our parks for children. He then told me he didn't care about the children.....that did it ....myself and some others using the park....were sucessful in forcing him to take his garbage and go!

A City Park is not a City Dump! Citizens get active!

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Content last modified on June 29, 2009, at 07:14 AM EST