Thousands of people descended on Pictou’s waterfront Friday afternoon in an effort to let Northern Pulp and politicians know they don’t want to see treated effluent in the Northumberland Strait.
More than 1,000 people gathered at the Hector Quay Marina while more than 100 boats came into Pictou Harbour as part of the #NoPipe Land and Sea Rally.
Representatives from Friends of the Northumberland Strait, who were one of the organizing groups for the rally along with the Northumberland Fishermen’s Association, told the crowd that history was being made.
“I am a mother, and as a mother, I have a duty to protect and teach my child. When you know in your heart of hearts that something is wrong, you stand up and you say something, and you do something,” said Krista Fulton with Friends of the Northumberland Strait.
Fulton said she’s part of a fisher family, which is one of the reasons she was involved in the rally.
“We are the very people that help shape the culture of this province, and right now, we’re being threatened. And we’re frightened, and it looks to me when you look out in that harbour, that those guys don’t take threats lightly.”
The group was protesting the pulp mill’s proposed pipeline that would see 70 to 90 million litres of treated pulp waste flow into the Strait each day. The provincial government has said it will close the current treatment facility in Boat Harbour by 2020.
Pictou Landing First Nation Chief Andrea Paul issued an emotional thank you to everyone at the rally.
“I know we haven’t been alone. And I know there have been many people that have been working tirelessly for years bringing this to the forefront and for you, I lift you up. I lift you up because you have never stopped. You do this without pay, you do this with every being of your soul because you want to do what’s right for everybody here, for everybody in Nova Scotia, for people in P.E.I., for people in New Brunswick. I want to say thank you. We do not want this pipe in our waters.”
Maritime Fishermen’s Union president Carl Allen said this is not just a local issue.
“We’ve taken this resource and we’ve built it into one of the most sustainable fisheries in the world and we’re not ready to let anybody damage that reputation under no circumstances whatsoever.”
Wes Surrett, manager of Pictou Lodge Resort and president of the Destination Eastern and Northumberland Shores, spoke about the importance of tourism jobs in the province.
“Tourism operators have lived with the challenge of air emissions and air pollution for many years and we persevered through that. … But when we heard there’s a pipe going in the ocean, we said no way.”