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Paper Excellence quells rumours protests are causing company that owns Northern Pulp to pull out of Pictou County

An estimated 3,000 people took part in last Friday’s Land and Sea Rally in Pictou, which was organized to protest the proposal by Northern Pulp to place a treated effluent pipe into the Northumberland Strait. An official with the mill’s parent company, Paper Excellence, says the company remains committed to Northern Pulp employees and the forest industry as a whole in Nova Scotia, despite the protest.
An estimated 3,000 people took part in last Friday’s Land and Sea Rally in Pictou, which was organized to protest the proposal by Northern Pulp to place a treated effluent pipe into the Northumberland Strait. An official with the mill’s parent company, Paper Excellence, says the company remains committed to Northern Pulp employees and the forest industry as a whole in Nova Scotia, despite the protest. - Adam MacInnis

PICTOU COUNTY, N.S. - Paper Excellence says rumours that it may be considering moving its Northern Pulp operation out of Pictou County, N.S., are not grounded in fact.

The company is committed to continuing operations at Northern Pulp, Kathy Cloutier, communications director for Paper Excellence, said Thursday.

Last week, about 3,000 people — including P.E.I. fishermen and representatives from the Mi’kmaq community on the Island — attended a protest in Pictou County decrying the company’s plans to build an underwater pipe to discharge treated effluent into the Northumberland Strait. Northern Pulp is building the pipe to replace a lagoon the province of Nova Scotia has ordered must be cleaned up by 2020.

The July 6 demonstration and vocal opposition to the plan from fisheries, First Nations and environmental groups have not led the company to change its plans, said Cloutier.

“You don’t leave an area because there are some protests,” she said.

Paper Excellence has invested more than 200 million in upgrades at the pulp mill since purchasing it in 2011 and has no plans of walking away now, she added.

Paper Excellence owns mills in other parts of North America, including the former Weyerhaeuser pulp mill in Prince Albert, Sask. It has been used in the past to produce northern bleached kraft pulp – the same product as is made at Northern Pulp. It was purchased by Paper Excellence in 2011, but due to a non-compete clause, the company is not allowed to sell northern bleached kraft pulp from it until 2021.

Cloutier said what’s happening at the Prince Albert mill has “absolutely nothing to do with Northern Pulp.”

She said Paper Excellence remains committed to Northern Pulp employees and the forest industry as a whole in Nova Scotia.

“That will not change,” she said.

Northern Pulp is currently preparing to replace the existing Boat Harbour Treatment Facility, which is required by provincial legislation and a 2014 promise by the provincial government, to close by January 2020. The company is looking at building a new treatment facility onsite at Abercrombie Point and pumping the treated effluent from a pipe into the Northumberland Strait.

The initial route that Northern Pulp had planned for the pipe is currently being adjusted to deal with some obstacles along the route, including a sunken ship and a sunken pier, as well as the risk of ice scours at the outfall location.

The general location of the pipe remains the same, but the outfall location will be deeper into the water than initially planned, said Cloutier.


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