Pictou-Advocate-opinion

Establish meeting spot for healing to begin

Opinion

To the Editor:

It always seems that communities are slow to change and let go of old ways of living, even when the danger of total collapse is close at hand.

Why are we unable to see new vision and let go of the old? I personally feel that the pulp mill in Pictou County must close and the people of the county face their fear of losing jobs. The families that live in the town of Pictou and surrounding areas deserve clean air and a restored landscape. Money must be directed not only to Boat Harbour but to taking down the mill site so that the next 50 years can involve healing the communities and environment for the future generations. The healing powers of nature will also begin at Boat Harbour when the flow of the mill stops. The residents of Pictou have an opportunity to restore the air quality and protect the lungs of their grandchildren. Both young and old are needed to support the fishermen and those of the tourist sector.

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All things that are born must come to an end whether human, tree, planet or pulp mill. Granted, many extend their lives well past their best before date but in doing so they take huge amounts of creative energy from their communities. They can also hold back creative ideas that could be the way forward. The pulp mill in Pictou County is dying and is well past its best before date if it ever had one. The flora and fauna that was sacrificed to make ready for the mill and its subsequent 50 years of operation is easily in the millions and not only at Boat Harbour. As a young boy living on the West River and swimming at the old bridge at Loch Broom, I witnessed this destruction first hand with the causeway acting like a dam for both the West and Middle rivers.

A closed loop system is never going to be built. The best that could even be achieved would be a minimum impact system. Instead, under the current regime, millions of liters of effluent will still flow into the entrance of Pictou Harbour. These promises are often said to the people to break the momentum of the citizen groups in protest and cause a disassembly. Hopefully, this time fisherman and Pictou residents will be able to stay strong and united for the long haul.

There should be a meeting area established close to the Pictou town waterfront where people in the area could go for coffee or tea and discuss their views both for and against (tourists included). This place should remain open for as long as the pulp mill is there so that the community can begin its healing. One has to only read the long history of the mill in Joan Baxter’s new book “The Mill” to see why this past 50 years of lies, broken promises and air quality failures must be reversed for a positive outcome for future residents of the county.

In closing, this pulp mill is like people driving around in 1967 cars or trucks being told that we can refit them with new technologies and all will be fine. Time to cut the delusions and the reckless waste of money going into this mill. Enough is more than enough.

Billy MacDonald
Elmfield, Pictou

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