The Halifax Regional Municipality has promised to host public consultations on the Otter Lake landfill as residents and local businesses argue a list of proposed changes will invite more smells, birds and rodents into their neighbourhood.
A consultant company is recommending the city get rid of sorting and treating garbage before it goes into the landfill. It also suggests setting up outdoor composting at the site and increasing the height of the landfill.
Residents say the proposed changes would turn the landfill into a dump. Opponents rallied outside city hall on Tuesday, promising unrest at the site if the changes go through.
"There's going to be hell to pay basically because me as a homeowner, if you lose value in my home, I'll block the road off myself personally," said Timberlea resident Steve Williams.
At Tuesday’s meeting there was a call to listen to what people have already told council through hundreds of e-mails.
"Not one endorsed these changes. Your citizens, your business people, your residents, not one. Amazing isn't it? Just astounding," said District 12 representative Reg Rankin.
Coun. Steve Adams said he wanted council to take the possible elimination of the front-end sorting and treatment facility off the table because they were promises made to the community back in the 1990s.
But he was shut down.
"That causes me grave concern along with Councillor Rankin. It's a dark day I would think for the residents and for the reputation of council in doing so," he said.
New golf community moving in
A spokesperson for the community said they will continue to fight once the town hall meetings begin.
"At least we're going to consultation and it does seem that council is quite willing to listen to what the community says," said Ken Donnelly.
Numerous councillors made it clear they are against getting rid of the sorting and treating processes at the landfill, but one councillor added even if those processes did disappear, it's unfair to say the landfill would turn into a dump.
Meanwhile, the developer of an ambitious new golf community in the Otter Lake area says he expects the city to live up to its commitments.
The debate over the expansion of the land fill comes just as the developers have launched a promotional campaign for the Brunello Estates Housing and Golf Development in Timberlea.
It’s separated from Otter Lake by a highway and rolling hills, but the landfill well out of sight is not out of mind.
"The community had some pretty clear commitments over what would be done over there," said President Rob Dexter.
"They may make some changes but it will be the same kind of quality."
Dexter's is the first golf community in Metro Halifax in more than a decade and is slated to open in 2015