I am writing because I think it is time that my voice as a concerned citizen of this county should also be heard.
I became an employee of Northern Pulp in the spring of 2004. I am one of the fortunate people of Pictou County able to secure a permanent job here. I had worked for years in construction before this. It is not easy having to leave your family when your children are young.
I feel my livelihood in this county is being attacked by individuals because they feel the pulp mill is going to poison our environment with the installation of the proposed new effluent-treatment plant. The effluent going out into the strait has been going out there for the past 50 years.
My father worked at the mill for 34 years and raised three children here on the income he received. We were fortunate to have him work here and able to come home to us every night and he didn’t have to leave to work away for weeks or months at a time. He took us fishing in these waters when we were growing up and now that I have a son I also take him fishing and hunting in this county. One of our favourite spots to fish is off the point at Pictou Lodge. Do you honestly think that if I thought for one moment the effluent from Boat Harbour was as lethal as some on social media are portraying it, that I would risk the health of my family for the sake of enjoying a few mackerel, or buying lobster from local fishermen?
I enjoy living in this county and hope cooler heads will prevail over the installation of the new effluent treatment plant. Because I fear, if this doesn’t happen, there will be a real negative effect on this county not only for myself and fellow workers at the mill, but also the rest of the county and the province, from suppliers to the mill to people with a vested interest.
Do not get me wrong. I feel everyone’s frustration over this contentious issue. I am a concerned citizen as well and would like to live to a ripe old age and enjoy the forest and ocean as well with my future grandchildren. If for one second I thought the owners of the mill were deliberately doing something to jeopardize my or my family’s health, I would be the first to knock on my general manager’s door and ask some serious questions. I feel people are spreading information that is not true. Please, for the sake of the future of all our industries, have a fair and open mind on this matter. We can get through this. With an open mind and listening to all the facts and figures presented you will have a clear understanding of this subject. We can do this together. Thanks for your time.