Pipe opponents rally; NP gets injunction

Community Featured

PICTOU – Opponents of Northern Pulp’s plans to pump effluent into the Northumberland Strait remain determined to support closing Boat Harbour on schedule and oppose effluent discharge into the Strait.

Friends of the Northumberland Strait member Nicole MacKenzie declined comment on the court decision late Tuesday afternoon that granted Northern Pulp a temporary injunction to allow survey work to proceed in the Strait.

She was among about 70 people who demonstrated in front of the Halifax Law Courts in downtown Halifax earlier in the afternoon while Northern Pulp made its case for the injunction so it can continue its plans to divert effluent from Boat Harbour, which is scheduled to close in January 2020, into the Northumberland Strait.

She said the demonstration was important as a way to demonstrate its stance to the public.

“It showed people that we’re still supporting fishermen and our declaration of no extension for Boat Harbour,” she said.

Kathy Cloutier, director of corporate communications for Northern Pulp’s parent company, Paper Excellence Canada, commented briefly by email on the decision.

“Northern Pulp and owner Paper Excellence Canada are satisfied with (Tuesday’s) ruling requiring the survey work that is vital to this project to proceed without obstruction or interference,” she said.

MacKenzie noted some from HRM and as far away as Yukon joined the demonstration. The group opposes a pipe in the Strait and wants Boat Harbour to close on time.

She declined comment regarding the decision later Tuesday.

“People were there to support the fishermen and in support of no pipe and closure of Boat Harbour on schedule,” she said. “It was a pretty quiet demonstration with some chanting and people supporting the fishermen.”

Local fishermen are among members of the Friends group who attended. They want Northern Pulp to create an in-house waste water treatment facility that does not require discharging effluent through a pipe into the strait once the Boat Harbour Harbour Treatment facility closes.

Northern Pulp has also asked for a delay in the January 2020 timeline for closing Boat Harbour to give the pulp mill more time to devise an alternate effluent system and apply for an environment permit to operate it.

MacKenzie said the group intended to demonstrate in front of the court house where Northern Pulp filed its injunction.

She said the group wanted to make the point that Northern Pulp is responsible for the time it has taken to design and propose an effluent treatment plan, despite efforts by fishermen to prevent vessels hired to survey a section of the strait where the emissions would empty.