From Siting Principles to Siting Practices: A Case Study of Discord Among Trust, Equity and Community Participation
Journal of Environmental Planning and Management
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This paper contributes to the noxious facilities siting literature by exploring some implications of adhering to some recommended principles and practices for competent siting. Through a qualitative case study of a landfill siting process in Peel (Ontario, Canada) three principles are critically assessed: trust; equity; and community participation. While laudable notions in principle, in practice they can impact each other in important ways which can (potentially) undermine the siting process. These impacts result mainly from the failure to achieve meaningful goals associated with one principle (e.g. community participation) which can exacerbate problems achieving goals associated with other principles (e.g. trust). The resulting discord can be further aggravated by the snowballing of adverse effects over time. In particular, practices for achieving trust and equity were adversely linked, as were the relationships between spatial equity and procedural equity and interregional and intraregional equity. These adverse synergisms were linked together with ineffective community participation which brought the process to a halt. Siting inertia (a process momentum difficult to redirect) and an inflexible siting context contributed to these conflicts. Implications for siting and further research are discussed.