Premier Stephen McNeil announced today, Jan. 3, the government and forestry sector members of the transition team created to support sector workers and businesses affected by the announced closure of the Northern Pulp mill in Abercrombie.
Kelliann Dean, deputy minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Trade, was previously announced as the team lead. Other members include:
— Julie Towers, deputy minister, Department of Lands and Forestry
— Simon d’Entremont, deputy minister, Department of Energy and Mines
— Ava Czapalay, acting deputy minister, Department of Labour and Advanced Education
— Don Bureaux, president, Nova Scotia Community College
— Jeff Bishop, executive director, Forest Nova Scotia
— Robin Wilber, president, Elmsdale Lumber Company
— Debbie Reeves, chair, Large Private Non-Industrial Landowners of Nova Scotia
— Greg Watson, manager, North Nova Forest Owners Co-op Ltd.
As the team moves forward with its work, individuals with further expertise may be engaged, as needed.
The transition team will hold its first meeting on Jan. 9. Initially, the team will have three key areas of focus:
— advise on short-term interventions that can have the most effective impact for affected workers and businesses throughout the forestry sector
— advise on potential areas of investment related to the $50 million transition fund
— identify longer-term and innovative approaches for the forestry industry in Nova Scotia while ensuring an ecologically sustainable and globally competitive forestry sector for the province
“We know there is an impact on workers and the industry, so it is critical to have industry representatives at the table. I am grateful these individuals have agreed to work with government to ensure we identify the most effective ways to support the industry in the short term and to provide advice on longer-term options for the future of forestry in our province,” said McNeil.
Since the deadline for closing the Boat Harbour effluent treatment facility was confirmed on Dec. 20, members of the forestry industry have been continuously engaged to provide input on critical impacts and to gather suggestions from industry.
— on Dec. 24, a toll-free line (1-888-315-0110) opened for individuals with immediate needs and questions
— to date, more than 125 calls to the toll-free line have been answered; this line will remain open to continue to provide information tailored to individual needs including updates on available income assistance programs as well as employment and training opportunities
— the Boat Harbour Act, which says the effluent treatment facility must close by Jan. 31, 2020, passed in the House of Assembly with the support of all parties and it received Royal Assent on May 11, 2015
— Northern Pulp registered an effluent treatment plant project for environmental assessment on Feb. 7, 2019, and submitted a focus report on Oct. 2. On Dec. 17, the minister of environment announced there was not enough information to approve or reject the project