No Pipe open house draws a crowd

Community Featured

The provincial and federal environment ministers will be receiving lots of letters after a well-attended open house on Saturday organized by Friends of the Northumberland Strait.

Approximately 300 people were at the No Pipe Open House throughout the afternoon, which was held at the Northumberland Fisheries Museum in Pictou and included the opportunity to sign letters addressed to each government that call for a rejection of Northern Pulp’s proposed effluent treatment facility and a request for a federal environmental assessment.

The event also featured a chowder cook-off, information displays, games and crafts.

“The feel for today we wanted was a positive feeling. We wanted people to go away with (the feeling) that they can help. We’re celebrating fishermen,” said Nicole MacKenzie, member of Friends of the Northumberland Strait.

Journalist Joan Baxter read from her book The Mill: Fifty Years of Pulp and Protest during the event as well.

During a question and answer session, she spoke about a lack of transparency from the provincial government regarding how much citizens are going to have to pay for the new effluent treatment facility.

She also noted citizen groups throughout the province that are trying to “improve situations,” pointing to past efforts from the Clean The Mill and Clean Pictou Air business groups to get a “really true cost-benefit analysis of the mill — what you would gain, what would happen to the real estate values if the mill weren’t there — to actually try to see if there really is an economic argument for the mill.”

Baxter said Nova Scotian politicians are “stuck in the 18 and 1900s,” chasing big industry and extraction, and aren’t “thinking about the really valuable resources in 2018.”

“We’re living in a paradise here. And yet, I see people write messages on Facebook and they’re saying beggars can’t be choosers. Since when are we beggars?”

MacKenzie said the event went well and the organizers were pleased with the turnout.

She was at one of the information stations the group set up, providing attendees with background on Boat Harbour.

Other stations included information on the proposed pipe that would see treated effluent from Northern Pulp pumped into the Northumberland Strait, the fisheries and what is at stake, air quality and tourism.

They’ve been presenting similar information to municipal councils, with this being their first chance to provide it during a public forum and gain a larger audience.

“Every person here, if they write to Parliament, if they spread the word and spread their knowledge of what they learned today, they can really make a difference,” said MacKenzie.


The No Pipe Open House, organized by Friends of the Northumberland Strait, featured information displays, games, crafts and a chowder cook-off, pictured here. The event was held at the Northumberland Fisheries Museum in Pictou.

INSET: Joan Baxter reads from her book The Mill: Fifty Years of Pulp and Protest during the No Pipe Open House, organized by Friends of the Northumberland Strait and held on Saturday, April 14. (Jess photos)