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Junk-mail litter to be addressed by city council

An amended resolution by two councillors to tackle discarded junk mail littering the ground around super mailboxes received tentative, yet near-unanimous support at Monday’s council meeting.

The original resolution was drafted by councillors Tony Carella, Ward 2, and Alan Shefman, Ward 5, and introduced at last week’s Committee of the Whole meeting. It did not receive a recommendation at that time because of concern over a key clause that called for the clerk’s office to record people in favour of receiving junk mail.

“In principle, I agree that we need to do something about the litter that is continually defecating on our cities where these boxes are,” Regional Councillor Joyce Frustaglio said at the committee meeting. “It’s just absolutely disgusting.

“However, I cannot support this recommendation because, by doing so, we’re going to create an uproar in the business community and (infringe on) people’s rights.”

At council on Monday, Mayor Linda Jackson, also expressed agreement in principle, but not with the method.

Carella said he was disappointed by what he viewed as last week’s timidity by councillors to take bold action. He said Canada Post had continually thumbed its nose at the city’s attempts to engage in looking for a solution.

“I appreciate the temptation to be a wuss when it comes to this,” Carella said in response to the dissenting councillors in committee. “My hope is that if this resolution is passed, it will create a little bit of a response from other municipalities and maybe … other municipalities will say, ‘Hey, maybe this is one way that we can bring Canada Post to the table.’ ”

The concerns of further burdening city staff, the uncertainty about mass mailings by city agencies and the definition of junk mail itself were once again raised by councillors Monday, leading to the amendment.

The amended resolution says that anyone not wanting bulk mail should inform Canada Post directly.

Of the eight councillors present, all but Regional Councillor Gino Rosati voted in favour. His concern for small business remained the same in council as the week before.

“Who’s going to take all of the calls from people complaining that they may not have received a coupon – or pizza specials?” Rosati asked as laughter filled the chamber. “That’s very important.”

Vaughan Today
Friday, September 14, 2007
Page: 3
Byline: Philip Alves