To the editor
The Friends of Redtail Society, an ecologically conscious woodland owning, non-profit group from Pictou County would like to respond to Kingsley Brown's comments in the Thursday, June 6 edition of The News around the Boat Harbour Act and the Abercrombie Point pulp mill.
It's very difficult to make sense of Mr. Brown's opening paragraph. The Boat Harbour Act does not make a commitment to clean and restore Boat Harbour impossible to keep, just the opposite in fact. There's a legislated date (January 31, 2020) to cease the effluent flow and Federal and Provincial money to begin the cleanup. Pretty straight forward.
Apparently five years (or four years and eight months) was not enough time for the mill to get their act together for a replacement facility. If from day one of the Boat Harbour Act, the mill had started their planning, it was woefully inadequate. The first notice we had of any replacement came in the spring of 2017 in the form of a nicely coloured brochure entitled "New Effluent Treatment Facility". This shows a ten kilometer, 36" diameter pipe going right out through the centre of Pictou harbour. Several months later we learn that this is not possible due to winter ice conditions. A problem that was identified in the late 1990's, but obviously not known to the planners at the mill. The biggest point made in that brochure is a stand alone line stating "The bottom line is no pipe equals no mill."
Kingsley states that "one truth, culture or community shouldn't come at the expense of another." Perhaps he should have told that to Premier Robert Stanfield in the early 1960's when his government lied and cheated their way to this mill's inception. The premier had his Lands and Forests top bureaucrats "fudge" the forest inventory numbers to the Scott Paper executives that we had lots of wood for them and had a politician drink some creek water, telling Pictou Landing First Nations that this was what Boat Harbour would become. The truth could have stopped this mill from ever being built here.
The Boat Harbour Act was passed with all party support in May 2015. Without a plan, says Kingsley. Well, the planning has to come from the mill, not the government. The government will approve or not, their plan.The results stated above go along with the new plan to now put the pipe illegally along the ditch of highway 106, through Pictou's watershed (which that town opposes) and out through Caribou Harbour (which the fishermen oppose). One truth, culture or community shouldn't come at the expense of another.
If this mill is the lynch pin of the province's forest industry, God help us all. Their 50 years of "pulp mill forestry" has reduced our forest to a shadow of it's potential and made the most important product a one half inch square wood chip. Not saw logs and lumber, veneer logs or any number of more valuable products, but the cheapest piece possible. The only real prosperity from that goes to the mill alone. The rest of us are struggling with low margins and the above mentioned highly depleted forest. We and our children and grand children deserve better.
We'll honour the Boat Harbour Act, end the lies and deceit and build a cleaner and more prosperous future for us all.
Chairman, Friends of Redtail Society
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To the editor