DCN ARCHIVES

June 24, 2009

Toronto city worker strike creates parking woes at job site

Toronto has fenced off parking paradise for a Lakeshore area construction site and put up garbage dumps as it reacts to the municipal worker strike.

Construction workers at the Park Lake Residences site along Lakeshore Boulevard west were recently greeted with six-foot-high blue fencing and city vehicles blocking access to their usual parking accommodations in city-owned lots along the Waterfront Trail.

“We have an alternative parking arrangement with the city to use these lots because we cannot accommodate the parking requirements for our workers on site,” explains Luciano Petrella, project manager for Saddlebrook Construction, the general contractor on the condominium project.

Workers were parking at the lots as late as June 23, but by the next morning, they could not. The lots now appear designated to become garbage dumps as the municipal worker strike begins to gear up. Twenty-four thousand Toronto municipal workers in Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Locals 79 and 416 went on strike earlier this week.

“We have 90 to 100 workers daily on the site — there is really no parking around here,” notes Petrella. “Also, I cannot believe they are going to create garbage dumps right here along the lakeshore as tourism season begins.”

Initial strike concerns for construction revolved around permit processing and inspections. Toronto taxpayers have already been up in arms about the loss of garbage removal service. Some residents have experienced delays, at the hands of striking workers, when trying to dispose of their garbage at designated transfer stations, only adding to their frustration. For Saddlebrook, the loss of parking has created a logistical nightmare.

There are approximately 40 tradespeople working on the project who regularly use the parking lots located between Palais Royale and the Humber River Pedestrian Bridge. Luciano says Saddlebrook has an agreement with the city to use the lots at a set price but the company was not notified that it could not longer use them.

“I can tell you this much, we won’t paying for the lots from now on if they are going to be garbage dumps— it does not make sense for us to do so,” says Petrella.

Toronto isn’t the only place experiencing a major strike by municipal workers.

In the early days of the of Windsor’s CUPE Locals 82 and 543 municipal worker strike construction sites experienced some extreme disturbances.

Picketers tried to shut down some of these sites, in some instances, by endangering themselves and standing in front of moving equipment. At one site, a police escort was co-ordinated for workers who needed access to a pollution control plant in order to perform emergency work.

Such incidents have largely been absent as the Windsor strike reaches its eleventh week. The only regular obstacle for construction workers are picket lines slowing down vehicle access to and from and municipal construction sites.

If the Toronto or Windsor municipal worker strike is affecting your project or construction site, let us know by calling the newsroom at 905-752-5544 or by email at editor@dailycommercialnews.com

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