A Pictou business owner feels caught in the cross fire between Northern Pulp and local fishermen.
Tony Dolan, who is the owner/operator of Fat Tony’s Bar and Grill, and Marina Bar & Grill as well as a number of inns and a motel in town, is feeling the pinch after being accosted twice in a five-hour time span by who he says are fishermen.
Dolan says that on the weekend a local fisherman — whom he did not name — came into his eatery on Water Street and confronted Dolan loudly “in front of customers” because the crew working on the survey boat that has been attempting to survey the sea bed in the Northumberland Strait, has been lodging at a unit Dolan owns.
Dolan, who has been a resident of Pictou for almost 30 years, says this person was “not a customer” at the time of the confrontation but he knew he was “a fisherman.”
“The company that owns the survey boat has been customers of mine for more than 10 years,” Dolan explains. They stay at a property Dolan rents because of its proximity to the heart of downtown and the local police station.
“I’m just providing a room. I am not taking sides,” Dolan insists. Several hours prior to this incident, he was approached by another fisherman with the same complaint.
“As a business man, I am remaining neutral; I am not supporting either side.”
Dolan says the angry fisherman told him that once local fishermen find out the survey crew is lodging at his business, “you’ll be lucky to survive.”
“I’m just trying to carry out my business in the town,” Dolan says. “If I picked sides I’d starve to death; I have as many mill workers as fishermen as my customers.”
He asks, “Why can the fishermen protest that this (proposed Northern Pulp effluent pipe) is interfering with their livelihoods, but then think it’s OK to threaten my livelihood? Or the livelihoods of those people I employ like my cooks, waitresses and cleaning staff? What about their livelihoods? Where will this stop?”
Dolan adds, “I’m just a little guy trying to run a business. I just want to let the politicians, the fishermen and the mill work it out.”
On Monday after a phone conversation with the survey boat company, Dolan says they shut down and returned home after being blocked by fishermen; they had been in town for almost a week and now, Dolan says, he’ll end up losing money.
Dolan says there were several negative posts on his business Facebook page on the weekend, but they had been taken down by lunchtime on Monday. “But the posts even mentioned the exact street address and unit number where (the survey boat crew) were staying.”
He is frustrated and saddened with the recent turn of events.
“I’m supplying a service. That’s all. Their beef is with the mill, not me. I probably buy more seafood from local fishermen than any other restaurant in Pictou County. I realize that this is their livelihood, but it’s also my livelihood.”