Toronto Star, May 14, 2000
By Michael B. Davie
The city has clamped down on unsanitary restaurants. Now it should turn its attention to landlords, Parkdale neighbourhood tenants say.
"Hey, our cockroaches are just as big as the ones in restaurants," says tenant John Connor, "and I'll bet we've got a lot more of them."
"The city should come down on landlords the same way they did with restaurants."
Connor, 40, says the cockroach problem in his West Lodge Ave. apartment dwindled after he pressured the landlord to apply an insecticide to the kitchen cupboards.
Neighbour Anna Thaker, president of the building's tenants' association, says the high-rise is one of the worst in Parkdale.
She says many tenants have moved out due to a combination of poor living conditions and rent hikes exceeding 30 per cent.
Yesterday, Connor and Thaker joined more than 100 neighbourhood tenants at Mazaryk-Cowan Park for a mass rally, hosted by the Parkdale Tenants' Association.
Rally organizer Bart Poesiat says the event succeeded in uniting tenants in a common fight for better living conditions.
Poesiat noted many attending also signed a petition calling for annual city checks of all Parkdale apartment buildings , including inspection of every unit except where a tenant refuses entry.
The petition also calls for the city to do repairs itself two weeks after issuing an order. The cost would be added on to the building owner's taxes.
"We want this issue on the city's agenda," Poesiat told cheering tenants. "Right at the top of the agenda."
He says the city needs to take the same approach with slum landlords that it employed against unsanitary restaurants.
"It isn't very nice to visit a restaurant that has mice and cockroaches," he notes. "But it's a lot worse to live with mice and cockroaches every day in your home. This is major issue - and we demand the city take action."
Back to the West Lodge (Parkdale Toronto) Tenants Association home page.