Courteous crowd at CBC’s Pictou show

Arts & Entertainment Community

Northern Pulp the subject of program

PICTOU — Several hundred people demonstrated respect for one another as they heard from guests regarding Northern Pulp’s future last Thursday during a special CBC radio broadcast of Information Morning at the deCoste Performing Arts Centre.

Information Morning host Portia Clark provided live and taped interviews of guests in an effort to share the myriad issues and varying opinions with regard to Northern Pulp’s intention to discharge treated wastewater through a pipe into the Northumberland Strait.

The guests included CBC community contact Gary Nowlan from Pictou, journalist and author Joan Baxter, Warden Robert Parker, Northern Pulp’s general manager Bruce Chapman and Chief Andrea Paul from the Pictou Landing First Nation.

“I think they did a good job finding balance,” Nowlan said, regarding the nearly three-hour program that switched between the newsroom in Halifax and Clark’s location in Pictou. “It’s an emotional issue but I think everyone in the audience kept their emotions in check.”

Braeshore resident Drew Fraser said he was glad to have attended.

“I thought it was well done,” he said. “I wish it could have happened earlier.”

Chief Paul maintained her community’s stance that the Boat Harbour treatment facility that Northern Pulp wants to replace with the pipe must close on schedule on January 31, 2020. Others expressed hope the closure could be extended to allow the mill more time to get the pipe project approved and completed.

She shared her views with Claire MacMullin and Emma Jewkes, Antigonish high school students who attended the event as part of their shared project on the subject of environmental racism, including the loss of language, culture and altered food consumption in their community.

Doug MacMillan, a forester from Tatamagouche, was among those who fear closing the mill will do permanent and irreparable harm to the forest industry in the province.

He reflected on claims by Wade Prest, who operates a seventh-generation forestry operation in Mooseland, N.S., that the industry can eventually overcome the loss of the pulp mill as a major wood source if it closes.

“I don’t know how Wade’s program will work,” he said. “I’m concerned about my woodlot income.”

Chief Andrea Paul, right, makes a point during a conversation with Claire MacMullin and Emma Jewkes, who are undertaking a high school project on environmental racism. (Goodwin photo)