WESTVILLE – About 30 concerned citizens from the Hillside-Trenton Environment Watch Association gathered in front of Pictou East MLA Clarrie MacKinnon’s office on Thursday to protest the continued blowouts of fly ash from the Trenton Generating Station.
Association member Peter Boyle said for the past eight years they’ve been fighting with Nova Scotia Power. “We’re wondering why this business would want to continue doing this,” said Boyle about the emissions. “Our children are our most precious resource, and they’re being affected by this.”
Boyle spoke of the occasional blowouts that would affect Trenton and the surrounding areas, coating houses, vehicles, lawns and toys in a fine dust. “It’s grey, but black when mixed with water,” he said. “It eats away at paint on our cars and siding on our houses. We can’t have gardens or grow anything.”
MLA Clarrie MacKinnon spoke with some of the protesters, including Boyle. “I’m a strong advocate for doing something at Trenton,” said MacKinnon. “I’ve tried repeatedly to get at least a partial conversion to natural gas but it hasn’t taken place.”
Boyle indicated the lack of action might be due to the socio-economic status of the residents. “We’re sort of looked at like the rednecks of Pictou County, but if this was happening to the Sobeys or the Camerons or the big mucky-mucks… that would be cleaned up in a second and something would be done.”
MacKinnon rejected this and said that his group had a 100 per cent legitimate claim. “There isn’t a magic wand in relationship to this and we’ve said it before, we’re working toward it every day and every month, it’s less dependence on coal.
For the first time there is a vision and that vision is getting (Nova Scotia) geared up for renewables.”
On Monday, Energy Minister Charlie Parker spoke at the Holiday Inn in Stellarton to talk about the Maritime Link project. At the meeting, he stressed the importance of the province getting off of “dirty coal,” and the eventual closure of the Trenton station. “There’s no particular date in mind, but we do know that plant will be phased out,” he said.
But it can’t happen soon enough for Boyle. “That’s great if they can switch it to natural gas to stop the fly ash, but we want to know when. If they can’t switch, we want it shut down. Trenton (Generating Station) is the oldest and most outdated.”
See video of MacKinnon and Boyles talking about the issues here.
On Twitter: @NGNewsJohn