Deputy Mayor Lynn MacDonald expressed concerns about effluent release into Northumberland Strait
Westville council is drafting a letter to provincial and federal ministers, calling for caution and respect for the Northumberland Strait and all industries potentially affected by Northern Pulp’s operation.
The call comes with the impending 2020 closure of the mill’s Boat Harbour effluent treatment facility and a proposed new system.
The letter was directed by council to show support for all industries in the area, but states that the Town of Westville doesn’t support the disposal into the Northumberland Strait of effluent from Northern Pulp.
Deputy Mayor Lynn MacDonald voiced concern to other members of council that if proper measures aren’t taken, Northern Pulp could end up doing damage to the ecology of the Northumberland Strait in its solution following shutdown of the Boat Harbour facility.
MacDonald made a motion to council that they write to provincial and federal ministers requesting that they “not allow Boat Harbour to be made tidal,” in terms of where it disposes of treated effluent.
MacDonald said if Northern Pulp is allowed to release treated effluent into the Northumberland Strait, the damage to the environment and the industries that rely on it will be “a living nightmare.”
Coun. Lennie White asked if MacDonald’s motion was specifically in reference to Northern Pulp’s plans to shut down and replace its effluent treatment plant.
MacDonald responded, “it’s not just about Boat Harbour, but subsequent dealings with effluent from Northern Pulp.”
White said he wasn’t sure it was appropriate to send a letter condemning what Northern Pulp will do with effluent, once its current treatment plant closes, when that information has not been made available.
MacDonald said, “I haven’t seen the government’s plan, but my point is, you can’t wait until the plan is in place to speak up,” suggesting that it would be a good idea to speak up, and say “we don’t support making these things tidal, and running two huge industries in this province.”
Coun. Charlie Sutherland referred to a letter by the Town of New Glasgow that indicated its support for all local industries, in finding a proper solution to the issue of effluent disposal.
“We don’t want the fishing industry, or the tourism industry, or the forestry industry to be hurt,” said Sutherland. “I’m voting on the idea that all those industries are important, and that we should do this right.”
MacDonald said she has been following the situation with Northern Pulp, and listening to what the Northumberland Fishermen’s Association has been saying on the matter.
She noted a concern from the Fishermen’s Association she feels is how Northern Pulp plans to treat its effluent once it closes the current treatment plant.
The same night the matter was discussed by Westville council, Pictou County council heard a presentation from the Northumberland Fishermen’s Association. Pictou County council decided not to send any letters until they have heard from all sides involved.