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LETTER: Look at facts and science regarding mill

Mill vs. no mill. Peoples livelihoods should be taken seriously.

Whether you are a mill worker, a fisherman, a woods worker or clerk in a store, decisions are being made about Northern Pulp that will impact you. Ive had the privilege to represent mill workers all over this province for 13 ½ years as national representative for the Communications Energy Paperworkers of Canada. Ive negotiated over 100 agreements to try to keep the mills of this province running. Ive seen communities like Port Hawkesbury, Liverpool and Minas Basin come together with all levels of government to do whatever possible to save their mills.

Whats wrong Pictou County? Wheres your voice? Where are the politicians voices? Its no time for anyone to lose their voice!

In the end the Liverpool and Minas Basin mills closed; the Port Hawkesbury mill emerged from creditor protection and continues to play a vital role in Nova Scotias economy. If people question the economic impact and importance of these mills to their communities and the province, take a drive to Liverpool and see what has happened since their mill closed. Many homes are for sale at discount prices with few buyers. Many large and small businesses closed. Many of the young people had to move away. Mills provide jobs not only to mill workers but also thousands of spin-off jobs.

Northern Pulp has been part of Pictou County and Nova Scotias economic infrastructure for over 50 years. We who work at the mill are fortunate to have an owner committed to reinvesting to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. In just a few years, this new owner has had a complete assessment of what the mill needs and developed a plan to move it forward and ensure continued success. The owner is diligently following government requirements concerning environmental and operating regulations. As an employee of 25 years at the mill and representative at the national level I understand the importance of this mill to Pictou County and the province.

I encourage people to look closely at this issue, the science and the facts regarding the mill and not the Alice in Wonderland rhetoric that one per cent of the population are spreading.

My family lives and works in Pictou County. We breathe the same air you breathe, and when it comes to health and safety we are satisfied with the environmental footprint of the mill. We expect no less than the best environmental conditions when it comes to operating the mill and feel very fortunate and proud to be here in Pictou County.

To the fishermen, my grandfather fished out of the Pictou Landing wharf, as did my uncle and great-uncle before and after there was a mill. The science tells me the answers to your concerns about the relocation of the effluent pipe can be found by reviewing the 50 years of the mills operating history. To the residents of Pictou County and the province, to politicians of all levels of government, its time to come together and inform people of the facts and science concerning Northern Pulp to ensure it remains a main economic driver.

Don MacKenzie, Pictou County

President Unifor Local 440

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