Contrary to popular belief, the majority of Parkdale-High Park Councillor Sarah Doucette’s constituents are not part of the city’s mechanical leaf pick-up program.
Only seven streets in the old City of York within Doucette’s Ward 13 benefit from the service.
“Unless you get notice from the city, you don’t get it,” Doucette said.
The city mails out notification letters two weeks prior to the scheduled pick-up date – those who do not receive one are not eligible. Despite this fact, it seems there is some misunderstanding among Ward 13 residents. Many people are raking their leaves onto the road. The piles are taking up parking spaces, blocking sewers and catch basins, which means when it rains basements are at risk of being flooded, warned the councillor. She is on a mission to dispel residents’ perception that the city will indeed take care of their leaves.
“We are trying desperately to get people to bag their leaves,” said the councillor.
Not only do these piles disrupt parking and clog sewers, they are causing dangerous situations, particularly on streets without sidewalks. Doucette cited Riverside Drive as one example. It’s a winding road, which is only made more narrow by the accumulating leaves. Children walking home from school are forced further out into the middle of the road and into traffic.
“This situation is deadly – not only for pedestrians, but cyclists too,” said Doucette.
Joyce Prezioso, a Willard Avenue resident, took it upon herself to rake up 13 bags worth of leaves from the street. They are now piled on her veranda. The 73-year-old, who turns 74 in January, took an entire morning raking up the leaves.
“They were heavy. I don’t even have a tree on my property,” said Prezioso, who has lived in the neighbourhood since 1965. “This was a darn struggle. I’m only five-foot-one.”
Using a shovel and a rake, she cleaned up the leaves on the street in front of her property. She only wishes more people would take the initiative.
Mechanical leaf collection is available to Etobicoke and Scarborough residents typically from late October to the end of November. It’s a supplement to the city’s yard waste collection. Last year, the service cost the city $500,000, said Doucette. Using specialized equipment, crews collect leaves stored off the traveled edge of the roadway.
For further details, call 311 or visit toronto.ca/transportation/leaf_pickup