Council ponders best action to address mill emissions

Sueann Musick
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PICTOU – Pictou town council says emissions from the local pulp mill have hurt the economic development in the Shiretown.

“I worked there for 38 years as an accountant and it gave me a good standard of living, but the smell has affected the economic welfare of the town,” said Pictou Mayor Joe Hawes during a council meeting.  “It has gotten better, but more could be done.”

The discussion on Northern Pulp and its emissions took place after town CAO Scott Conrod read a letter from Pictou resident Marie Hatt, asking council to support the “condemnation of emissions from the pulp mill.”  

Hatt said it was time for the town to take on a “leadership role” on the issue, but Deputy Mayor Lynn Vienneau said while she supported a local group’s efforts to have the emissions cleaned up, she didn’t agree with the wording of the letter. 

“I would like council to take political leadership by writing its own letter from a different point of view,” she said. “Going after management at the mill is not valid. I would like a letter to be sent to the Department of Environment.” 

Coun. Cam Beaton said the province is legally responsible for the air quality so he agreed with the deputy mayor that a letter would have more effect if it were sent to the province. 

“Is the pulp mill playing by the rules and who sets the rules?” he asked. 

Coun. Alta Munro agreed the pulp mill was a valuable contributor to the local economy by employing a large number of people, but the problem with the emissions needs to be addressed.   

 “The mill needs to be cleaned up and the Nova Scotia government has to do that,” said Coun. Alta Munroe.

Organizations: Pictou town council, Department of Environment

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

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