Solution must ensure both sides survive

Opinion

To the Editor: Fools rush in where angels fear to tread, or Blessed are the peace makers for they shall inherit the earth.

Which of these, if either, apply to this presentation and the present situation, if either is not yet clear?

Our county, our county, the whole North Nova region is being torn to pieces in a dispute that should not exist. Two primary industries — fishery and forestry — are at odds with each other. Rural people by tradition helped each other against the elements; not so this time. Both sides have been encouraged by foreign interests. There is enough blame to go around. Both, one way or another have received enough of the taxpayer’s money to finance a fair sized army in a Third World country.

This dispute pains me greatly as I have relatives, friends and neighbours on both sides. Both have legitimate concerns and both are absolutely essential to this area. Remember the railcar plant is gone, the paint company is gone and the feed mill is gone. This area is hurting.

Any solutions must ensure that both the fishery and forestry industries survive anything less will be a devastation this area cannot afford.

The following is an attempt to solve this problem.

The salt waters have always been a Federal Government area of responsibility. A fish swimming in waters of New Brunswick or Nova Scotia does not know which province it is in, but we know it is in Canadian waters. Therefore this is a federal matter and should be returned to the Federal Government now.

Both industries must be protected and only the Federal Government has the resources to do this. This is even more important with the reduction in equalization payments due to the decline in the Alberta economy.

The following process should be taken:

A. An independent scientist from a bonded firm verify that the new process does or does not emit waste that is or is not at least 70 percent less toxic than what is now going into Boat Harbour. Samples must be taken and tested.

B. This scientist must visit at least one other mill with the same or similar process to confirm or deny that the process is working or not working as claimed. Samples must be taken and checked. NOTE: There is one mill in Sweden with the same or very similar process.

C. If the process is not 70 percent lower in pollutants than pipe going into Boat Harbour then the pipe cannot go forward. If it is as claimed or better the pipe it should go forward. If the pipe goes forward the fishing industry must be protected. This can and must be done and can be done as follows.

D. A GPS position is recorded at the discharge position. Anyone fishing in a zone 15 kilometers east of the point, (towards Antigonish) to a line 15 kilometers west of the point and between Pictou Island and the mainland of Nova Scotia will have their income guaranteed by the Federal Government by the following procedure. If the catch of an individual fisherman declines by a percentage, (example three per cent) greater than fishermen in other areas, the Federal Government will mail a cheque equal to the lost income to that fisherman within 60 days of applying for the money, which can only be applied for after the end of the season for that species of fish. However, if the catch in this area increases relative to the other areas the value of the increase will revert to the Federal Government as payment for this insurance. The agreement between the fisherman and the Federal Government could last one, 10, and 15 years or as long as the mill operates.

E. This program will probably require a GPS collar on the boats participating in this program as a check on days fished in this area.

F. This area is and should be federal responsibility and only the feds can afford this. The taxpayer has already spent millions on the mill and millions on wharves for the fishing industry. Both industries are crucial to the area now, so a few hundred thousand dollars will not matter.

Harvey Henderson

Toney River