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Photo: Friends of the Northumberland Strait/Facebook

Community group ‘delighted’ mill in Pictou County will not re-open

By Caitlin Snow May 28, 2024 | 12:29 PM

A community group in Pictou County is relieved a long chapter in their history has now come to a close.

The Friends of Northumberland Strait (FONS) is reacting to Northern Pulp’s decision to abandon its plans to re-open the mill in Pictou.

The group has been fighting plans to re-start the mill over potential impacts to the fishing industry and nearby communities.

President of FONS, Jill Graham-Scanlan, says they have reached this point because of the efforts of many people over many years.

“FONS and others believed from the start that Northern Pulp’s proposal would result in significant harm to the environment and people’s lives. Together with a wide range of experts, including marine biologists and geologists, chemists, engineers, fishermen, both commercial and recreational, everyday concerned citizens and organizations representing diverse sectors throughout the Maritimes, we were able to demonstrate the flaws in Northern Pulp’s plans.”

The statement comes after a settlement was reached between the province and the owners of the mill last week.

It says the company will pay for costs incurred through the court process, pension plans for former employees and more.

Northern Pulp had originally proposed to dump treated effluent into the Northumberland Strait.

However, former Liberal Premier Stephen McNeil decided to shut down the mill, according to the Boat Harbour Act, which says the area could no longer be used for wastewater treatment after Jan. 31, 2020.

This is because Northern Pulp couldn’t get their plan approved ahead of that deadline, so the mill shut down.

Now the company is looking into building a new mill in Queens County.

-With files from Steve MacArthur and Jacob Moore