Canadian Innovations in Siting Hazardous Waste Management Facilities

Kuhn; Ballard

Environmental Management 22(4): 533-545


ISSN/ISBN: 1432-1009
PMID: 9582390
DOI: 10.1007/s002679900126
Accession: 018508531

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/ Siting hazardous waste facilities is an extremely complex and difficult endeavor. Public aversion to the construction of these facilities in or near their community often results in concerted opposition, referred to as the NIMBY syndrome. For the most part, siting processes do not fail because of inadequate environmental or technical considerations, but because of the adversarial decision-making strategies employed by the proponents. Innovative siting processes used in the provinces of Alberta and Manitoba offer tangible evidence of the successful application of an innovative siting approach based on the principles of decentralization of decision-making authority and full and meaningful public involvement. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate four Canadian siting processes from the perspective of public participation and access to decision-making authority. Examples of siting processes related to hazardous waste management facilities are provided from the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, British Columbia, and Ontario. Siting has evolved from approaches dominated by top-down decision making to increasing decentralized and pluralistic approaches. Focusing on social and political concerns of potentially affected communities and on the process of decision making itself are fundamental to achieving siting success. In Alberta initially, and later in Manitoba, this new "open approach" to siting has resulted in the construction of the first two comprehensive hazardous waste treatment facilities in Canada.KEY WORDS: Hazardous waste facilities; Siting methodologies; Public participation

Canadian Innovations in Siting Hazardous Waste Management Facilities