Pictou-Advocate-opinion

Keep an open mind

Opinion

Re: Northern Pulp – Boat Harbour

To the Editor:

I’ve had the very good fortune to work at Northern Pulp for the last 38 years, starting out at entry level and working my way up to shift supervisor. During these years I’ve had the pleasure of working with many dedicated employees, some of which are retired now, and of course new employees, who have taken over from our retires and carefully watch the process and make the necessary changes to not only make a world class pulp, which is shipped all over the world, but monitor the process for cost savings, as well as protect the environment.

As I have, most of our employees live in Pictou County, raising our children and now grandchildren here, volunteering in our local organizations, in many cases not only giving our time, but contributing financially as well. I’m sure you do the same and for the same reasons, Pictou County and Nova Scotia is a great place to live! I know I speak for all of the employees here at Northern Pulp when I say we want Pictou County to remain a great place to live and raise our family, but sometimes change is required and does occur.

The Province of Nova Scotia has directed that Boat Harbour, our current effluent treatment facility, be closed by the year 2020 and that a new onsite effluent treatment facility be built. Just like a recent election that we’ve all watched on CNN, I’ve listened to, and read many miss truths by our local “Clean the Mill Group” and now a book, all with the same direction as that recent election, “spread un-truths and instill fear.” The problem is that all too often, it’s the first information that one hears, that sticks in one’s mind, and at times is hard to correct. For the past year, I’ve see the outcome of miss truths and fear, each time I watch CNN. Now, I read in my local newspaper, that an elected official is requesting that council write to the provincial and federal ministers requesting that they “not allow Boat Harbour to be made tidal,” that “if Northern Pulp is allowed to release treated effluent into the Northumberland Strait, the damage to the environment and the industries that rely on it will be “a living nightmare.” Apparently the deputy mayor isn’t aware that treated effluent meets all regulations before it’s released, and like the deputy mayor, it would appear that the Northumberland Fishermen’s Union & members do not realize that the effluent flowing to Boat Harbour is treated, then flows out into the Northumberland Strait, and has been for the last 50 years!

I’d like to think we’re doing a great job in operating Boat Harbour; I eat the lobster, scallops and fish caught by our local fishermen, I’m currently 62 years young, I know I’m overweight and have lost my hair, but I believe that I’m still pretty healthy.

Northern Pulp is under new ownership, and our new owner has our back, wants to invest in our mill, our future and provide jobs.

So now I’m asking my friends and my community to put faith in us as residents of Pictou County, and as workers of Northern Pulp, to allow us to go through the process of meeting government regulations and direction, hold public information meetings, and to go through this process with an open mind.

Our future, and I believe our community’s future depends on it.

Ross Tugwell
Abercrombie

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