Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia announces members of Northern Pulp transition team

Two weeks after the impending closure of the Northern Pulp mill was announced, Premier Stephen McNeil has released the names of the members of the forestry transition team, which will aim to help workers and businesses affected by the decision.

Goal of team to help forestry workers as Northern Pulp mill prepares to shut down

The Northern Pulp mill in Abercrombie Point, N.S., will close by the end of January. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil has released the names of the members of a team created to help forestry workers as the Northern Pulp mill prepares to shut down at the end of January.

The head of the transition team — Kelliann Dean, deputy minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Trade — was announced in December.

A press release sent out Friday said the other team members will be:

  • Julie Towers, deputy minister, Department of Lands and Forestry.
  • Simon d'Entremont, deputy minister, Department of Energy and Mines.
  • Ava Czapalay, acting deputy minister, Department of Labour and Advanced Education.
  • Don Bureaux, president, Nova Scotia Community College.
  • Jeff Bishop, executive director, Forest Nova Scotia.
  • Robin Wilber, president, Elmsdale Lumber Company.
  • Debbie Reeves, chair, Large Private Non-Industrial Landowners of Nova Scotia.
  • Greg Watson, manager, North Nova Forest Owners Co-op Ltd.

Last month, McNeil announced the Pictou County mill would not receive an extension to continue treating effluent in Boat Harbour beyond the end of January. The extension was requested in the midst of the mill's inability to get government approval to build a new effluent treatment facility.

Without a place to send its effluent, the mill cannot operate.

In announcing his decision, McNeil also announced a $50-million transition fund to help those in the forestry sector affected by the decision.

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil speaks with reporters in Halifax last month after announcing his decision on the Boat Harbour Act. (CBC)

The release also said the team will have three key areas of focus:

  • Advise on short-term interventions that would have the most effective impact for affected workers and businesses in the forestry sector.
  • Advise where the fund could be invested.
  • Identify longer-term approaches for the province's forestry industry, while "ensuring an ecologically sustainable and globally competitive forestry sector for the province."

The release said more individuals may be added to the team.

"We know there is an impact on workers and the industry, so it is critical to have industry representatives at the table," McNeil said in the release.

The transition team will hold its first meeting on Jan. 9.

According to the release, a toll-free line (1-888-315-0110) set up to help those affected by the impending closure has taken more than 125 calls.

On Tuesday, Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Houston criticized the provincial government for not yet announcing the transition team members and what their objectives were.