The Municipality of Pictou County had a firsthand look at a new plan to transform a kraft pulp mill into a best-in-class facility.
Northern Pulp recently released its transformation plan that it hopes will pass a Class 2 Environmental Assessment and see it open again in Abercrombie, Pictou County.
Dale Patterson, environment assessment project manager for Northern Pulp, outlined the plan for council during a committee of the whole meeting Tuesday.
The plan states the total mill transformation with significantly reduced environmental footprint.
It will also create a low carbon and energy-efficient operation and have advanced wastewater treatment with new equipment located at the mill site. There will also be an:
80 per cent reduction in odor
70 per cent reduction in visible plumes
45 per cent reduction in water use
Best in class wastewater quality
Patterson said community input and feedback on the future of the mill is important which is why it is has established an active independent environmental liaison committee and website that will record all its updates and studies. It also intends to have a public environmental dashboard that will track many different components in real time.
Councillors asked questions throughout the presentation regarding the work of the liaison committee that included concerns about effluent and air admissions and the mill’s relationship with surrounding communities, Pictou Landing First Nations, and the forestry sector.
Warden Robert Parker said municipal council has a responsibility to listen to its residents, but in the end, it is another level of government that will be deciding if the mill will reopen.
“We have been through this a few years ago. It caused a huge split within neighbourhoods, town and rural areas and in some cases between fishing communities and forestry communities. If you ever teach a lesson on how not to handle an issue, that would be textbook case,” he said. “As a council we have a role to play to listen to people, but we don’t make a decision at the end of the day. The decision is made by the provincial government, but we need to play a role in letting people have their voices heard.”