Filth in Park-Ex reaches critical mass

    The fact that these pictures and videos were taken in broad daylight is particularly worrying since rats are nocturnal.

    “Waste damages Parc-Extension’s reputation,” deplores Ensemble Montréal

    Following a Park-Ex News brief phone call to Mrs. Deros’ office, there was an influx of pictures and videos that were incredibly shocking, challenging the perception of them originating from a city like Montreal.

    Hundreds of rats infesting Park-Ex areas and waste accumulating outside buildings. The fact that these pictures and videos were taken in broad daylight is particularly worrying since rats are nocturnal. Going about their business in daylight shows an unprecedented degree of infestation. “People feed cats and birds outside their houses. The food remains uneaten on the ground attracting rats, cockroaches and other pests” said Mary Deros. On Thursday May 11th 2023, she presented an action plan to tackle the flagrant issues of uncleanliness present in the neighborhood. The elected representative of Ensemble Montréal urges the local administration to remedy the problem, which was the subject of 1,962 citizen complaints made in 2022 in Villeray–Saint Michel–Parc-Extension (VSMPE).

    “I have lived in Parc-Extension for over 50 years and I have been an elected official representing the borough for 25 years. I have never seen the neighborhood in such disarray. Garbage harms the reputation, image and quality of life associated with our neighborhood. In the yards of some residents, rats have taken the place of cats and dogs. There is a total loss of control on the part of the borough,” lamented Ms. Deros during a press conference held at the corner of Avenue Champagneur and Rue Liège, near a mountain of waste.

    To address the concerns of the residents of Parc-Extension, Ensemble Montréal proposes that unsanitary conditions be considered a problem that must be tackled year-round. The infrastructure and services available to citizens should also be improved. These infrastructure and service improvements can include more closed garbage cans, the distribution of closed waste bins to residents and more cleanliness brigades. For example, the Plateau-Mont-Royal has cleanliness brigades on duty for over 11,000 hours per year. Villeray–Saint Michel–Parc-Extension only has them on duty for 1,750 hours per year, despite being twice as large.

    Ensemble Montréal is also asking the borough to invest more in awareness campaigns and to increase the number of inspectors responsible for issuing tickets. In 2022, only 275 tickets were issued in the borough of VSMPE. The local administration is also invited to draw inspiration from the borough of Saint-Laurent, where they are integrating RFID chips into compost, waste and recycling bins. This makes it possible both to measure their efforts and to tailor their awareness campaign actions.

    “It is very important not to delay and to accompany citizens in changing their habits. In the borough of Saint-Laurent, we took the lead as soon as we saw a problem appear and we made sure to provide all the tools to the citizens so that they take the right action,” explained the mayor of the borough of Saint-Laurent, Mr. Alan DeSousa.

    These solutions complement the measures presented by the elected representatives of Ensemble Montréal last February to better control the rat population in Montreal.

    Cleanliness Action Plan 2023 for Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension

    1. Enhancement and support in equipment
    2. Cleanliness brigades in 2022: 10 brigadiers who will be deployed from June until the fall throughout the borough. Classic cleanliness brigade in 2023: The brigade will be deployed from April to December.
    3. Collaboration with the Environmental Services for the implementation of innovative practices.
    4. Communication campaign (information and awareness printed materials, social media, awareness booths, etc.): Remind citizens of the rules to follow (collection schedule and locations, accepted content and containers) as well as raise awareness among citizens about the importance of keeping their surroundings clean and maintaining cleanliness in public spaces.
    5. Maintenance of five inspectors in the borough and the establishment of a team of two patrollers responsible for ensuring presence and interventions in problematic areas in Parc-Extension and Saint-Michel in 2023.

    Parc-Extension-specific cleanliness plan proposed by Ensemble Montréal:

    1. Increase the number of closed public trash bins and distribute closed bins to residents for their household waste.
    2. Increase the frequency of cleanliness brigades and provide this service year-round.
    3. Implement RFID chips on compost, household waste, and recycling bins, as done by the Saint-Laurent borough, to track collection performance and target awareness activities.
    4. Enhance investments in on-site awareness activities (year-round door-to-door campaigns and increased awareness during periods marked by an increase in the issue, especially the weeks surrounding July 1st and the thawing period).
    5. Increase investments in hiring inspectors and double the members of the patrolling team to be deployed in Parc-Extension and St-Michel in 2023.
    6. Increase the frequency of waste collection in parks.
    7. Make the amounts invested by the borough in cleanliness per neighborhood public every year.