The CBC documentary titled "The Mill" is borrowed from Joan Baxter's 2017 book of the same name. The big difference, however, is Baxter's book has many pages of facts and figures while the doc has so few it is misleading.
Notably missing was how many millions of dollars were given, and more loaned, to Northern Pulp Mill over the most recent years. $6 million plus last year alone to cover the cost of preparing an environmental document – one that came up short on facts even though they had five years to research.
Also missing was the cost of somewhat cleaning up the years of pollution left at the Boat Harbour site. The federal government has allotted $100 million to that and the rest will come from all the province's taxpayers no matter where they live and work .
In years past the many aeration pumps and installation of them was covered by provincial money. Bringing natural gas to the plant property was taxpayer funded. Money was given and loaned to buy and install equipment for installing smoke filters on one of the many stacks at the mill. Years ago taxpayers bought a wood chipper plant for this mill. Many millions. This list goes on and all is detailed in Baxter's book but not mentioned in this documentary.
One sawmill owner mentioned that $80 million was spent by Northern Pulp but neglected to mention much of that came from taxpayers of N.S.
The Chronicle Herald reporter made the statement that forestry as an industry would promptly shut down if the pulp mill were to close. That's false. We have written a Plan B and sent it to him and many others, including the premier and minister of lands and forests. Several CBC radio and TV reporters have also commented on what next, but the CBC editor of this documentary ignored the information available from CBC employees.
Also missing is that Wade Prest and his Forestry Management Group have been transitioning to a more sustainable plan, as have at least four other management groups made up of private forest lot owners. The Lahey report on forestry to government was never mentioned. It recommended a transition for forestry, however, to date the report has been largely ignored by government.
And finally, sawmills that get some of the logs they saw from Northern Pulp allocation are required to saw out only 45 to 50 per cent of the lumber from each log and then chip the remainder, screen sort the chips and send them to the mill to make kraft paper that is then exported out of the province. Lumber sells for much more than chips and sawdust and biomass. With the pulp mill closed these sawmills will be free to saw more lumber and profit from increased cash flow, if they want to do so.
Harvesting will transition to leaving small trees to grow into a future forest and will continue to harvest more mature larger trees to supply the sawmill's requirements.
Not mentioned is the mill employee retirement fund is greatly underfunded, has been for years, and neither UNIFOR nor government have done anything about that. The employees and retirees are rightly worried about that.
Over the past year three major employers in Pictou County have hired about 500 permanent employees for jobs that do not pollute the air or water. Government announced road building will employee another 1,000 for up to three years. Work at Boat Harbour and tearing down the old mill and site cleanup will be another three-year job. A great deal of trucking is involved in all. NSCC remains ready to re-train ex-mill employees that want to work at renewables jobs.
The future bodes well for forestry and the environment without the pulp mill.
Member of the Healthy Forest Coalition
Brule Point , N.S.