Even though the Northern Pulp says it’s possible for its new effluent treatment facility to be completed on time, the company says it’s unlikely that the pipeline that carries treated effluent from it will be finished before the January 2020 deadline.
According to the company, factors surrounding the pipeline, which would carry effluent overland until discharging it into the Northumberland Strait, are holding up the process.
“The delay comes from looking at the change of options, in terms of routing. You have to look at what that entails,” said Paper Excellence director of corporate communications, Kathy Cloutier. “And you have the outflow itself, and what that entails.”
The outflow, which would disperse approximately 85,000 cubic metres per day into the Northumberland Strait has been a wedge in a community where many people depend on both the mill and the adjacent forestry industry, and the fishing industry.
“This is not a Northern Pulp issue solely,” said Cloutier. “This is a forestry issue within the province as many people are aware. Northern Pulp is the backbone of the forest industry. This goes beyond simply Northern Pulp.”
But a working group representing 3,000 fishermen as well as Pictou Landing First Nations are sticking to their message of “No Pipe in the Strait”
“We have not changed since day one. No pipe in the Northumberland Strait,” said Allan MacCarthy with the Northumberland Fishermen’s Association. Their position is directly at odds with the bleached kraft paper mill which has maintained, “No Pipe, No Mill.”
The original outfall of effluent at Boat Harbor on Pictou Landing First Nation was the catalyst for the Boat Harbour Act which requires Northern Pulp to improve how they treat and dispose of effluent from the mill at Abercrombie Point, in Pictou County by year 2020.
Both of the company’s proposed routes for the pipeline have been rejected by the working group.
“If it’s still being dumped in the strait, then as far as we’re concerned, no is no,” said Pictou County First Nation spokesperson, Heather Head.
As for the province, they say that it’s up to the mill to either be ready by deadline or have community support for an extension.
“The onus is on the company to continue to have those discussions with the community, particularly first nations,” said Minister of Lands and Forestry, Iain Rankin. “There has been five years notice to the company to put in place a new system.”
“Right now, as a company, we’re looking at how to make this work,” said Cloutier. “We’re all part of the community and that’s where our focus is.”