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Title: Landscapes of perception : reclaiming the Athabasca oil sands and the Sydney tar ponds
Author: Dance, Anne T.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2746 2344
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2013
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This interdisciplinary project offers new insights into the reclamation history of two of the most controversial and contaminated sites in Canadian history: the Sydney tar ponds and coke ovens and the Athabasca oil sands. It argues that Canada’s natural resource-dependent economy, combined with jurisdictional uncertainty, created a hesitant, fragmentary site cleanup regime, one that left room for different ideas about landscapes to shape and even distort reclamation’s goals and processes. In the absence of substantive reclamation standards and legislation, researchers struggled to accommodate the unique challenges of the oil sands during the 1960s and 1970s. Ambitious goals for reclamation faltered, and even the most successful examples of oil sands reclamation differed significantly from the pre-extraction environment; reclamation was not restoration. Planners envisioned transforming northeastern Alberta into a managed wilderness and recreation nirvana, but few of these plans were realised. The Sydney tar ponds experience suggests that truly successful reclamation cannot exist unless past injustices are fully acknowledged, reparations made, and a more complete narrative of contamination and reclamation constructed through open deliberation. Reclamation, after all, does not repair history; nor can it erase the past. Effective oil sands reclamation, then, requires a reconsideration of the site’s past and an acknowledgement of the perpetuated vulnerabilities and injustices wrought by development and reclamation.
Supervisor: Mills, Catherine; Oram, Richard Sponsor: University of Stirling ; Commonwealth Scholarship
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Oil Sands ; Sydney Tar Ponds ; Reclamation ; Remediation ; Pollution ; Contaminated Sites ; Environmental Justice ; Canadian Environmental Policy ; Mining ; Landscape History ; Environmental History ; Tar Sands ; Coke Ovens ; Cape Breton ; Alberta ; Athabasca Tar Sands (Alta.) ; Environmental toxicology ; Environmental management Canada ; Reclamation of land Alberta Athabasca River Region ; Reclamation of land Canada