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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

EUCAN’s pants are on fire

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As most readers of Spacing know, we are not fans of the EUCAN bin. You can read all about our reasons here, here, here, or here. There is no doubt in our mind that Toronto needs to clean up its streets and sidewalks, but these bins do nothing but encourage people to consume more, and thus create more garbage and waste.

So when the City released its survey yesterday about the public’s perception of the bins, we were sure the numbers would validate our viewpoint. And they did. But by mid-afternoon EUCAN had its own press release circulating that stated, “83% of street survey respondents approve of new bin. Ordinary people interviewed on the street by City staff like the MegaBin.” It continues, “While a vocal minority continue to oppose the installation of better bins, ordinary citizens of Toronto have said ‘yes’ to more recycling, ‘yes’ to an improved design and ‘yes’ to the MegaBin.”

I call bullshit on EUCAN. The “favourable response” of 83% is from the “street intercept” portion of the respondents which represents only 200 people, or about 5% of the total sample.

On-line respondents hated the bins — 85% are opposed. The exact opposite response that EUCAN is circulating. Just over 23% of respondents who oppose the bins did so because they “dislike advertising in public space.” On-line responses represented 55% of the sample, or over 2,200 people.

While EUCAN dismisses the on-line survey results as the work of the “vocal minority,” we should assume that on-line responses were the preferred method of gathering the public’s opinion since the website was clearly labelled on the bins throughout the three month test. It is disappointing that EUCAN would simply ignore the opinions of over 2,200 people who took the time to fill out a survey that the City (and EUCAN for the matter) obviously solicited.

Also worth noting is that the study was seriously flawed because very few downtown councillors allowed the test pilot bins to be placed in their wards, where streets are narrowest, and the pedestrian right-of-way is paramount. So their constituents did not see the bins, and probably did not respond.

This kind of manipulation by EUCAN is another clear indication that the people running the Megabin program are completely out of touch with the needs of the public. If City staff needed another reason to turn this pilot project down, this is it.