Protesters show support for no pipe into Strait

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“No pipe, no mill.”

That was the chant that could be heard during a demonstration along the Pictou waterfront on Saturday by people opposed to the proposed effluent treatment system that would release 70 to 90 million litres of treated effluent daily from Northern Pulp into the Northumberland Strait through a pipeline.

Approximately 150 people gathered to walk the length of Caladh Avenue, pausing to hear a few remarks with the smell and sight of the pulp mill across Pictou Harbour serving as the backdrop.

Don Wilson, who said he used to work in the forestry industry, was one of the organizers, informing people of the plan over multiple Facebook groups. He said he got involved because he realized people in the fishing and forestry industries are “in the same boat.”

Gayle Gammon was among the people in the crowd, prepared with rain-friendly attire as well as a sign that said, “No pulp waste in our water.”

“This is actual lunacy. I think this is craziness that this pipe even was proposed … I think this is an all-time low when they propose to put a toxic effluent pipe directly into some of the best fishing grounds in the world,” she said during an interview before addressing the crowd.

Gammon, a Lyons Brook resident, said this is the most serious situation the area has faced. She believes her future financial situation could be jeopardized by the pipe, as her fiancé works in the fishing industry.

John Collins shared concerns about his financial livelihood as well as that of future generations of fishermen.

“The younger guys are more of a concern. If they get wiped out because of the negative effects of this effluent, they won’t be able to afford to get by.”

He suggested the plan could impact certification from the Maritime Stewardship Council that took many years to get and brands the fishery as sustainable.

“This could negatively affect that and negatively affect our branding. If one person gets sick indirectly because of pulp and paper waste, what will that do to marketing?”

Donny Cyr, who also works in the fishing industry, said the proposed plan was unacceptable.

“It just doesn’t make sense to me that they think it’s all right to put their effluent pipe in the Northumberland Strait.”

Ray Hayman was at the demonstration to show his support for fishermen.

He believes the proposed pipeline isn’t right.

“You’ve seen what it did to Boat Harbour,” he said.

In Pictou on Saturday, approximately 150 people demonstrated their opposition to Northern Pulp’s proposed effluent treatment system that would include 70 to 90 million litres of treated effluent flowing daily into the Northumberland Strait via a pipeline. (Jess photo)