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“The Mill” documentary to be shown on CBC

The Northern Pulp mill is seen in Abercrombie Point in 2014, with the Town of Pictou in the background. FILE
The Northern Pulp mill is seen in Abercrombie Point in 2014, with the Town of Pictou in the background. FILE

PICTOU – The ongoing Northern Pulp saga is coming to a television near you.

A documentary film “The Mill”, from Site Media filmmaker David W. Craig and award-winning producer Ann Bernier, explores the entangled history of the Northern Pulp mill in Pictou County, and its deeply rooted effects on the economy, the indigenous community and the traditional lifestyles of Pictou County.

“I have resided in Pictou County for the past 17 years,” says Craig, who divides his time between Pictou and Toronto.

“Everyone here has lived with the mill and its impact for a long time but the closure of Boat Harbour has brought the situation to a head.”

The documentary will have its broadcast premier on CBC Docs POV on Aug. 29 at 10 p.m. AST.

Northern Pulp mill faces a legally imposed deadline of January 2020 for the closure of its effluent treatment facility at Boat Harbour located on traditional Mi’kmaq lands expropriated in the 1960s.

Former Nova Scotia environment minister Iain Rankin has described Boat Harbour as Nova Scotia’s worst case of environmental racism. If the mill cannot get a new facility in place by 2020 it will close, possibly affecting more than 2,700 jobs in rural Nova Scotia.

Facing opposition from local fishermen to its proposed new treatment facility, Northern Pulp is now unable to meet the deadline and it is asking for an extension.

Now the community is caught in a deep divide – between those who support the mill and those who want the government to keep its promise to close and clean up Boat Harbour.

“As the situation reaches the boiling point,” Craig explains, “I set out to make a film that not only highlights the conflict, but sets out the stakes for a community that wants to be optimistic about its future possibilities and opportunities.”

The Mill offers piercing insight and emotional stories of loss and resilience from Chief Andrea Paul of the Pictou Landing First Nation and shows the resistance put up by local fishermen. It also features Premier Stephen McNeil, Northern Pulp manager Bruce Chapman, among others.

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