Department of Geography and Environmental Studies

Darren Gillis Chamberlain, 1991

The Halifax-Dartmouth Regional Sanitary Landfill Controversy 1972-1977:  A Case Study of Locational Conflict


The purpose of this thesis is to study the amount and nature of the locational conflict created during the site selection process for the Halifax - Dartmouth regional sanitary landfill. This thesis is a unique case study on the effects of negative externalities generated by the noxious facilities. The conflict created by this single issue affected three different areas over a five year period(1972-1977).

First a chronology of the locational conflict is constructed for the site selection process. Second, a surrogate measure of political power is obtained for the areas surrounding each of the three sites. This level of political power and the influence it generates is then related to the site selection process. Finally, the level of newspaper coverage relating to the issue is measured for each site, and related to their socioeconomic characteristics.

It is concluded that the socioeconomic characteristics of the areas surrounding the three sites were a significant factor in the outcome of the selection process. The residents in the areas of high socioeconomic levels were able to use their influence in the political system to have the landfall moved. In the end, the decision to locate the sanitary landfall was political, instead of being based on environmental and economic considerations. It is hoped that this thesis will serve as a useful insight into the particular issue of locating a sanitary landfall. The author believes that the problems encountered during the previous location process can serve as a lesson for any future process.