Nova Scotia

Fishermen, politicians discuss proposed Boat Harbour treatment facility

A meeting held in New Glasgow, N.S., gave fishermen's associations a chance to express concerns on a new effluent treatment facility that Northern Pulp plans to construct by 2020.

'Unless they're going to build something the fishermen can accept, they're in for a battle'

Northern Pulp must secure environmental approvals and build a new waste water treatment plant by January 2020. (Jeorge Sadi/CBC)

A meeting held in New Glasgow, N.S., Sunday morning gave fishermen's associations a chance to express concerns about a proposed waste water treatment plant the Northern Pulp Mill could be building.

The company has not yet sent a formal proposal to the province, but it must secure environmental approvals and build a new effluent treatment facility plant by January 2020.

"We heard some real concerns," said Central Nova MP Sean Fraser, who was at the meeting. "The fishermen are obviously interested in protecting the local fishery, as am I. There was a lot of people who were emotionally connected to the industry because it's their livelihood and was the livelihood of generations before them."

Northern Pulp's initial plan would see mill waste water, up to 75,000 cubic metres daily, handled through an activated sludge treatment system. The effluent would be aerated and settled in a large tank on the mill property.

Treated effluent would then be sent to a new submerged marine outflow for discharge into the Northumberland Strait.

'They're in for a battle'

Prior to the meeting, Ronald Heighton, the president of the Northumberland Fishermen's Association, said he hoped the government officials — which included the Nova Scotia Environment Minister Iain Rankin, PC Pictou West MLA Karla MacFarlane and Fraser — would offer more insight into Northern Pulp's proposal.

"Unless they're going to build something the fishermen can accept, they're in for a battle," said Heighton, who was unable to attend the meeting due to a prior commitment.

"It's a large volume of fresh water they release. How and when and where they're going to release it is what we want to know and of course we want to know the contents of what's coming out of it too," said Heighton.

Closed meeting

The meeting between government officials and different fishermen's associations was closed to the media.

Rankin sent CBC a statement saying the environment is his "main focus."

"I was pleased to have the opportunity to attend this important meeting with the community and stakeholders today and hear their concerns. Any decisions made will be based on science," the statement said.

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