HALIFAX – A union-funded study is painting a bleak picture of a decimated Nova Scotia forestry industry and the rapid disappearance of 2,700 jobs if the Northern Pulp paper mill is closed.
The mill’s parent company, Paper Excellence, is facing a January 2020 deadline under provincial legislation to shut down a treatment facility that sends effluent into the Boat Harbour lagoon near a Mi’kmaq community.
The company – which directly employs more than 300 people at the Pictou County plant – says it may shut down if its plan to treat and pipe 85 million litres of effluent daily into the Northumberland Strait isn’t approved.
In March, the provincial Liberal government told the company to provide more information before it receives environmental approvals.
During a Halifax news conference today, Unifor President Jerry Dias said it’s time for the province to proceed, saying the water treatment plant will solve the pollution problem – and the alternative is an industry that may never recover.
A study by Gardner Pinfold Consulting commissioned by Unifor estimates the mill spends $279 million annually, most of it in rural, high unemployment areas of the province, and that a supply chain of 1,379 companies supports its operation.
It estimates that workers earn about $128 million a year in income and that $38.4 million in tax revenues are being generated.
The consultant says if Northern Pulp closes it will cripple sawmills, forestry contractors and private woodlot owners who are closely tied into the Abercrombie Point pulp mill’s operations.
The mill buys large amounts of wood chips and sawdust from the sawmills, using it to produce pulp that is exported and turned into tissue, towel and toilet paper.
News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2019