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New Glasgow councillor believes feds should review Northern Pulp plans

This pipeline is part of Northern Pulp's plans to replace the Boat Harbour effluent treatment facility.
This pipeline is part of Northern Pulp's plans to replace the Boat Harbour effluent treatment facility. - SaltWire Network

New Glasgow, N.S.

Frank Proudfoot wants a federal assessment of Northern Pulp’s plans to build a new effluent treatment facility to replace the Boat Harbour treatment facility the company currently leases from the province – but it appears he’s the only New Glasgow councillor who feels that way.

Proudfoot brought up the issue during a Monday night committee of the whole meeting in the town. It was a motion that was later defeated by his fellow council members after some debate.

“My feeling is that the 30-day time limit for public input (which is part of the Class 1 assessment) is way too short, especially when they as a department are not going to be actively seeking out opinions or holding public forums but will leave that to the company to do,” Proudfoot said.

He questioned whether the Province of Nova Scotia could make an unbiased decision on the matter.

“Unfortunately, the Nova Scotia government has a blatant conflict of interest in this pipeline issue. They’re liable for any loss of profits the company suffers if they don’t ok the pipeline after the closure of Boat Harbour,” Proudfoot said. “This reason alone shows we can’t trust the Nova Scotia government to make an unbiased decision. Here in Pictou County we have witnessed first-hand the negligence of the Department of Environment and the Nova Scotia government as they have chosen economics and the all mighty dollar over the health and wellbeing of its citizens with Boat Harbour and Westray Mine just to name two prime examples.”

Arguments aside on whether or not the pipe should go into the Northumberland Strait, he said there is nothing to be lost by additional review.

”There’s no downside to that request, other than an extra few months which should be no problem to anyone concerned and would take away any doubt or concern about the fairness of this project.”

The only people negatively impacted he said would be Northern Pulp.

“This stuff is so toxic they can’t do a closed loop system because it will rot the pipes, yet they’re willing to put it into the oceans where we’re swimming and where our fish are,” he said.

Several of the councillors took exception to his use of the word toxic.

“That’s where I have the issue,” Councillor John Guthro said. “I find both sides are not honest in this, because on the one side it’s a toxic issue. To hear from Northern Pulp you could add honey and milk to (the effluent) and drink it like it’s tea.”

Councillor Troy MacCulloch said he believes the fact that Northern Pulp is taking so much time preparing their plans before submitting shows that they’re doing due diligence.

“They’re still doing their homework.”

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