■ Trou­bled wa­ters

Sur­vey boat map­ping North­ern Pulp ef­flu­ent pipe forced back to shore

The News (New Glasgow) - - FRONT PAGE - BY SUEANN MUSICK

RCMP of­fi­cers talk with crew mem­bers of a sur­vey boat that was forced to dock at Pier C in Pic­tou by fish­er­men op­posed to North­ern Pulp’s plan to pipe treated ef­flu­ent into the Northum­ber­land Strait.

Fish­er­men op­posed to North­ern Pulp’s plans to pump treated ef­flu­ent into lo­cal wa­ters say the com­pany’s new route isn’t any bet­ter than the last - and show­cased its op­po­si­tion by forc­ing a sur­vey boat back to shore.

On Oct. 23 - the day af­ter North­ern Pulp met with stake­hold­ers over the pro­posed new route - fish­er­men let it be known they weren’t ac­cept­ing the new pro­posal by block­ing a sur­vey­ing boat from do­ing its work.

Pic­tou County fish­er­man Al­lan MacCarthy, who is part of a coali­tion rep­re­sent­ing fish­er­men from Nova Sco­tia, PEI, New Brunswick and Pic­tou Land­ing First Na­tion, says “ab­so­lutely no way” to North­ern Pulp’s lat­est pro­posal.

“This new route is to­tally un­ac­cept­able,” MacCarthy who fishes out of Cari­bou Wharf. “North­ern Pulp has clearly not been lis­ten­ing. No Pipe in the Strait means this lo­ca­tion too. Seventy lob­ster boats fish out of Cari­bou. We fish herring and crab from here too. Cari­bou is the largest wharf on the Nova Sco­tia side of the Northum­ber­land Strait.”

Forced back

MacCarthy said he got word Oct. 23 that the sur­vey boat do­ing work for North­ern Pulp’s new out­fall was in the wa­ter near Cari­bou, so he left the har­bour and met the boat in the chan­nel.

“I went out as a peace­maker and told them that ev­ery­one is not go­ing to be as friendly as me,” he said. “There was a lit­tle fool­ish talk back and forth. But when the other boats started com­ing out of Cari­bou, they left the area.”

He said he es­corted the boat back to Pier C in Pic­tou to make sure noth­ing would hap­pen.

The sur­vey boat tied up Pier C and five fish­ing boats idled in the wa­ter close by watch­ing as peo­ple from the sur­vey­ing boat spoke with RCMP at the pier. By noon, both sides had left the area.

New plan

North­ern Pulp pre­sented its lat­est pro­posed route for the pipe to stake­hold­ers – in­clud­ing the as­so­ci­a­tions rep­re­sent­ing fish­er­men from Nova Sco­tia, New Brunswick and Prince Ed­ward Is­land, and the Pic­tou Land­ing First Na­tion – on Oct. 22.

The pro­posal would see ef­flu­ent piped along­side the cause­way run­ning to­ward Pic­tou and con­tinue ad­ja­cent to the road run­ning to the Cari­bou-Wood Is­lands Ferry and then out into the Northum­ber­land Strait, but it was met with op­po­si­tion.

The day be­fore that meet­ing, a leak to the pipe car­ry­ing ef­flu­ent to the Boat Har­bour treat­ment fa­cil­ity on Oct. 21 prompted the pro­vin­cial en­vi­ron­ment depart­ment to in­ves­ti­gate.

Re­me­di­a­tion work be­gan im­me­di­ately, with no ef­flu­ent es­cap­ing into the East River. Of­fi­cials say the spill on In­dian Cross Point, about mid­way be­tween the road and the East River, was con­fined to a wet­land area.

“Yes­ter­day (Oct. 22), we saw again that North­ern Pulp did not know that their ef­flu­ent pipe was leak­ing un­til a cit­i­zen re­ported it,” said MacCarthy. “The same thing hap­pened in 2014 - a 47 mil­lion litre raw ef­flu­ent spill and that’s on land. It’s un­be­liev­able that our gov­ern­ment wants us to trust this com­pany with an un­der­wa­ter pipe dump­ing ef­flu­ent into our fish­ing grounds.”

Pic­tou Land­ing First Na­tions Chief An­drea Paul said North­ern Pulp had six months to come with a bet­ter plan than the last, but it is still fo­cused on putting its treated ef­flu­ent into the Strait.

“It’s 2018 and we have a bot­tom line - no more harm to our wa­ters, our fish­eries or our com­mu­ni­ties,” she said.

North­ern Pulp has asked fish­er­men to par­tic­i­pate in a project ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee.

SUEANN MUSICK/THE NEWS

SUEANN MUSICK/THE NEWS

Fish­ing boats sur­round a sur­vey boat that was forced to re­turn to Pier C in Pic­tou Tues­day by fish­er­men op­posed to North­ern Pulp’s plans to pump treated ef­flu­ent into lo­cal wa­ters.

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