Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Seaside Nova Scotia Town the Stage for Battle between Jobs and Environment

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Seaside Nova Scotia Town the Stage for Battle between Jobs and Environment

Article excerpt

Nova Scotia town sees fight over emissions


HALIFAX - A battle between jobs and the environment is playing out in a scenic seaside town in Nova Scotia where increased emissions from a nearby pulp mill have many businesses fuming.

Anne Emmett, co-owner of the Braeside Inn and spokeswoman for the group Clean Pictou Air, wants the provincial government to do something about the particulate spewed from the Northern Pulp mill, located just across the harbour from Pictou.

Emmett said while there has always been intermittent issues with the smell, this summer has been "significantly worse."

"What we have every day without exception is a thick heavy dense smog of emissions coming from the mill and enveloping Pictou harbour and the downtown area," Emmett said.

She said the problem has become progressively worse and reached a "boiling point" for many in the tourism sector in particular, with businesses saying their bottom line is being hurt.

Emmett said she's one of those feeling the pinch, having lost a number of customers at her inn, which is located on a hill overlooking the harbour.

"No question they are walking out every night," she said. "We really can't expect people to stay in this environment."

Emmett's 26-member group includes the owners of hotels, gift shops and a real estate company as well as the town's deputy mayor. Prominent businessman Paul Sobey, whose family owns the eponymous grocery store chain, is also a member and has been heavily critical of the mill's inability to deal with the pollution.

Emmett said her group wants the mill shut down until the emissions problem is fixed. Barring that, the provincial Environment Department has to find some sort of solution, she said.

"If there is no result and the mill continues to blow out this ghastly smog ... the Clean Pictou Air group will certainly be taking further action," she said, although she wouldn't specify what that might be.

Northern Pulp spokesman David MacKenzie admits his company is at an impasse with the Pictou group because closing the plant, which employs more than 250 people, isn't an option. …

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