Hospitality industry wants city services restored now

It’s time to put an end to the beating Toronto’s hospitality industry is taking from the interruption of city services during the strike, says the Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association.

The organization today called on Mayor David Miller to restore much-needed city services through the use of private-sector service providers.

Association President and CEO Tony Elenis says many restaurants are unable to operate and are losing significant revenue as backlogs in restaurant inspections, business licence applications and garbage collection continue to grow.

“We’ve been waiting,” he said. “It doesn’t seem like anything is happening and now after 30 days of a strike in a major city with major consequences we need to step it up.

“They can keep on negotiating all they want, but the city needs to go back to being a city.”

Elenis cited examples of problems encountered by their members, including a number of hospitality establishments in the city’s west end that lost thousands of dollars in business when a swim meet scheduled for the city-run Etobicoke Olympium was cancelled due to the strike. The event attracts athletes, coaches and spectators from across the province, Elenis said.

A foodservice operator on the Toronto Islands estimates he’s losing $40,000 a week as there are no mainland visitors due to a loss of ferry service, the association reported.

Elenis said they’ve received many frustrated calls from restaurateurs who are experiencing a loss of business because they’re close to a temporary dump site.
Others are dealing with time-consuming garbage disposal matters. 

“Many independent operators don’t have the infrastructure and the logistics to have garbage bins outsourced so what’s happening is they, or their paid employees, (are taking) garbage out to transfer stations,” he said.

“Then they find after two, three hours waiting, they’re told those transfer sites are purely for residential.”

The city has already benefited from private disposal services for marquee events like the Pride Parade, Elenis noted.

“They have been doing it in patchwork which is not really what is needed it needs to be looked upon as a total umbrella strategy,” he said.