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Lincolnville Protest Against Environmental Racism

Groups Protest Inaction by Municipality and Province

by Nova Scotia Public Interest Research GroupEcology Action CentreConcerned Citizens of Lincolnville

Concerned Citizens of Lincolnville

Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group

Ecology Action Centre


Media Release: May 10, 2011


Groups Protest Inaction by Municipality and Province:

Noon protest at entrance to Lincolnville Landfill, Route 16


A Year and a Half is too Long

In December 2009 the Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs facilitated a meeting between the Concerned Citizens of Lincolnville and the Municipality of the District of Guysborough and other interested parties over the two landfills in their community.  The three hour meeting, while rocky at times, was productive and the Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs agreed to organize a second meeting for the spring of 2010. As of May 2011 no such meeting has occurred.

“We entered into those discussions in good faith,” says James Desmond of the Concerned Citizens of Lincolnville.” We hoped that the Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs and the provincial government would act as mediator or honest broker between the community and the Guysborough municipal government, but all we are getting is more broken promises.”

The Concerned Citizens of Lincolnville along with the Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group and the Ecology Action Centre would like to see the Province treat this as an issue which can and must be resolved and pledge to convene meetings until the parties come to a mutually satisfactory agreement. If the Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs is unable to convene further meetings, the provincial government should engage a professional mediator.

“We were satisfied with the first meeting, but a year and a half to organize the next meeting is unacceptable and beyond belief,” continues James Desmond.

The History of Two Landfills: Lower Sackville and Lincolnville

Many familiar with the situation see environmental racism at play.

“I look at how the concerns of the citizens of Lower Sackville were handled in the 1990s when it came to the landfill in their community and how the citizens of Lincolnville are being treated and I can only conclude that this is environmental racism,” says Asaf Rashid of NSPIRG. “In the case of Sackville, the landfill was closed, a multi-million dollar leachate collection system was installed, and the residents and community compensated. In 2011 African Nova Scotians deserve better.”


First Landfill Leaking

In 2006 in Lincolnville, the Municipality of the District of Guysborough closed the first generation landfill and opened a second generation landfill which takes waste from Northern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton. Monitoring results indicate that the first landfill is leaking contaminants into the surrounding environment.

“The first landfill is leaking contaminated leachate and  because of inadequate testing we don’t know the severity of the problem,” states Mark Butler of the Ecology Action Centre. “In addition, we believe that the Municipality is not in compliance with its closure permit and therefore is breaking the law by not providing a leachate collection system for the first landfill.”

The first meeting between the citizens of Lincolnville took place at the on December 9, 2011 in Upper Big Tracadie. In attendance were the citizens of Lincolnville, elected representatives from the Municipality of the District of Guysborough, officials from Nova Scotia Environment, the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources, representatives from NSPIRG and EAC, and officials from the Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs.




For more information please contact James Desmond, Concerned Citizens of Lincolnville at 232-3041, Asaf Rashid, NSPIRG at 402-0898(cell) or Mark Butler of the EAC at 429-5287. The protest will take place at the entrance to the Lincolnville landfill on May 11 at noon.






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Topics: Environment
578 words


The leachate is running

The leachate is running downhill towards Boylston, so I wouldn't really say that it is a case of environmental racism.  Granted I don't like seeing garbage being brought in from Antigonish and Cape Breton, because if the situation was reversed, you know our garbage wouldn't be going there.  The landfill is making a fortune from tipping fees.....keeping everyone's taxes down, maybe they will start fixing some roads next!

Since the leachate would be

Since the leachate would be ruuning downhill to Boylston, I don't think that this can be called environmental racism.  It bothers me to see the garbage being trucked in from Antigonish and CB, because we all know our garbage wouldn't be welcome in those areas.  The "dump" is making a fortune from tipping fees, thus keeping our taxes low...maybe better roads will be next.  really, this dump has been there for many years and was never an issue before...why just for the past few years? There are a lot of waterways down the hill from the landfill, I don't recall hearing of any fishkill.  Give it a rest people, you know that dump will never be going anywhere!

I couldn't agree more....I

I couldn't agree more....I think Envirnomental Racism is a little far fetched.

Envirnomental Racism is a

Envirnomental Racism is a little far fetched don't ya think!

I've been involved in

I've been involved in supporting the Concerned citizens of Lincolnville for  a few years, through NSPIRG. I've got some informed responses.


Environmental Racism?

Firstly, some background. Environmental racism is the disproportionate impact of environmental hazards on people of color. In Nova Scotia, it's expressed as the intentional situating of hazardous waste sites, landfills, incinerators, and polluting industries in and around communities inhabited mainly by people of Black decent and First Nation people.

Despite a 1992 Human Rights Commission recommendation clause which stated that "No more landfill sites within a certain radius of African and Native communities", a Dalhousie University study conducted in 1996 found that over 30% of African Nova Scotians live within a 5km radius to a waste dump. This figure has precipitated increasingly. Provincially, environmental racism is a standardized process that has become systematically reinforced throughout history in Nova Scotia, including: Africville (1960s), Lincolnville landfill (1974), East Lake Landfill (1992), Halifax Wastewater treatment plant (2002), and again in Guysborough (2006)


Is the community of Lincolnville really being affected by the Landfill?

YES. They have been affected negatively by both the first generation landfill (1974 - 2006) and by the larger, 2nd generation landfill (2006 - ). The 2nd site, as has been referred to by one of the commentators, receives waste from Cape Breton and Antigonish.

The first generation site was effectively a hole in the ground, with no monitoring for the first  25 years and it still leaks. As is the case with other 1st generation sites, it had no lining or containment system and no plan for when toxins leak into the water supply. Increasing the threats further, the absense of monitoring helped facilitate the entry of substances that were never supposed to enter into the landfill site, such as waste oil. Fifteen thousand bags of oily waste went in there from the oil tanker Kurdistan which created a serious oil spill in 1979. Community elders have attested to the entry of such substances, personally witnessing it. There were also transformers for power poles dumped at the site, containing PCBs at the time. The list goes on. 

Considering what was dumped at the site -- everything and anything -- the issue goes beyond water pollution. The air in the viscninity was poisonned. There have been abnormally high occurrences of rare cancers such as stomache cancer, as well as other ailments. One of the concerned Citizens who I've been working with for years once had a tumour removed from his hand. Another person from the community I met in 2008 was only in his early 30s, and he had to get cancer treatment as well.

Regarding the water itself, it does indeed appear that the water is likely flowing into Boyleston; however, the jury is still out on conclusive evidence that no waste water is getting into the water supply in Lincolnville. I'm no expert on hydrogeography, but am aware that a simple watershed analysis above ground is not enough to make a determination. And in any case, the people of Boyleston don't deserve to have contaminated water. So, bringing up the issue of contaminated water is still beneficial for the health and safety of the surrounding area.

The negative effects are far from limited to loss of environmental health. The community has also suffered from a deterioration of property value and general loss of ability to enjoy their suroundings due to the effects of both landfills. The 2nd generation landfill  brings between 25 - 35 trucks through the area per day, making a huge racket and stinking up the area.  

As a consequence of the above-mentioned reasons and, additionally, because the new site did not bring the jobs it promised to the community, there has been an issue of depopulation of the area. Many do not wish to leave -- the community goes back over 200 years -- but feel forced to leave. The community of Lincolnville has not benefited from the multi-million dollar revenue from the present landfill's tipping fees.


Compensation for a 1st generation landfill has a NS precedent

There has been one case of compensation for effects of a 1st generation landfill site.  In 1994, the Province of Nova Scotia passed the Community of Sackville Compensation Act. This recognized that the community had endured negative consequences from the landfill in their midst, which was closed. In the words of John Holm, leader of the NDP at the time, the community suffered “loss of quality of life and loss of enjoyment of their homes because of the failure of not only the Mertopolitan Authority, but also the various provincial governments to be properly monitoring amd enforcing strict rules and procedures at the landfill...” Mr. Holm continued: “An injustice was done to those residents over the years ... hopefully, this legislation will allow some of those injustices to finally be addressed.” The Act created a $5 million compensation fund to be accessed by the affected people. In addition to compensation, a leachate collection system was put in place to mediate any post-closure contamination of the surrounding area. There was also some allocation of revenue from tipping fees to the local community centre.


Has the fight only been going for a few years?

No, it hs been a much longer fight. The resistance to the 2nd generation site began in the early 2000s when the community was informed about the proposal for the new site. They expressed concerns about a new site opening with so many unresolved issues from the first site. There were numerous meetings with the Municipality of Guysborough to address these concerns. When the new site opened in 2006 without concerns being addressed, it was met with protest and the formation of the Concerned Citizens of Lincolnville, whose efforts were joined by several organizations. Many are aware of the opposition since then.

That's just the opposition to the new site. The opposition to the 1st landfill began when it was going into the ground in 1974. There was no consultation regarding the first site going in, and the community was never happy or quiet about it. How could anyone be when repulsive matter is suddenly being trucked into their viscinity? The earlier resistance has essentially been eclipsed by more recent events. 

From all indictions, it looks like resistance will continue until the matters are resolved.  



More background:



blah blah blah......I just

blah blah blah......I just think its all so sensless! Why is it then that the people in Boylston are not harping?

I would like to know just how

I would like to know just how many of the people on this committee are actually living in Licolnville, or are they just people living in other areas jumping on the bandwagon for a cause? Don't get me wrong, I am not taking up for the Municipality....I see too many other things happening locally and certain individuals who benefit. But where were these people years ago when the dump was first established in that area? I know the turmoil over this issue wasn't there then.  The bottom line is....no one wants a landfill in their backyard, the protest SHOULD have been made then, not thirtysome years later when it is too late. Sounds like some people are looking for renumeration for something that actually started years ago.  Years ago when there was no landfill, everyone had their own private dumping ground on their own property....in which everything was dumped, including used oil and discarded appliances containing pcbs.  It is a little to late to try to change anything now


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