Don Wilson on what could happen if The Mill closes

On Woods and Waters Nova Scotia (Facebook Page) Dec 15, 2018:

This from Don Wilson:

Nova Scotia Privately owned Forests – Changes are coming

“Earlier this year, while standing in a Saturday afternoon smog generated at the Pulp Mill across the harbour, I realized that trees were being sacrificed to benefit a Privately owned mill to generate profit for the out of country owners. What could I / we do to reduce the smog or stop it completely?

“The Mill would have to modify process within the building including cleaning up the huge amount of process water contaminated by various chemicals. In the months since it has become clear the Mill’s owners are not planning to do more than slightly reduce the air and water contamination. It is also clear the present Government has no plan to reduce or remove the contaminations. Recently Government announced it was giving the Mill over six million dollars to put toward a plan. A plan the Mill claims to have but has never officially shown any branch of Government. Buying blind ?

“Neither the Mill nor it’s owners nor Government has considered closing the Mill oft citing the loss of employment of direct in the mill people and indirect employees of forestry and suppliers. There are only about 300 direct employees and there are more jobs available nearby than the 300 to be laid off. Michelin Tire, Enercon, and Group Savoie could absord them all . NSCC can help to retrain some for the Renewables industry and others.

“They would have us believe that forest harvesting would abruptly cease. That is simply not true. Some suppliers might face temporary employee reductions however these could go on to expanded local business. The area fisheries would expand. Area sawmills would immediately expand. Goverment road reconstruction would absorb as many as 1000 people by spring / summer 2019 (Government announced 3000 jobs But ?).

“Both DNR-NSF continue to push clear cutting of both Crown lands and Private lands in spite of the Lahey Report recommendations. So what can we do?

“We can reorganize how forestry is done on Private forest lots so that harvested trees are processed and sold into different markets than being sent to a Pulp or Chipper mill. This is not something we have to invent. One of the best alternate solutions is available online for all to read about. ANDERSON PACIFIC FOREST PRODUCTS LTD. located in Langley, B.C. has a web site : that has pages online telling about it’s long history, it’s forest woodlot , and various other operations. Charlie Anderson’s 400 Ha woodlot is a model forest from which he harvest 5,425 cu.metres of wood yearly yet the growing inventory increases yearly. He buys from a large number of others . His primary sawmill is a large bandsaw feeding three other bandsaws, planner, etc. ”

” In Pictou County the Friends of Redtail have a forest acreage that is becoming a model forest. There are several more in N.S. There is the Fundy Model Forest near Sussex, N.B. We need to manage our forests so that some harvesting is done yearly, some planting is done yearly, some thinning is done yearly , yet the inventory of trees is growing yearly . Sustainable management is the plan.

“The plan takes up several pages and will soon be released to the public . The bottom line is that N.S. doesn’t need the Northern Pulp Mill nor it’s jobs . We can process the yearly harvests into a higher value product(s) than Kraft pulp or Chips for export.

“Reduce clear cutting and the use of very expensive high volume machine harvesters. Thus reduce the payments leaving the Province to the out of Canada manufacturers of same . Selection harvesting is more labor intensive – thus more local jobs instead of machine payments.

“An old past process system closed pulp mill will need to be taken down ( the inside is mostly just junk ) , the site cleaned up from 50 years of site pollution . Probably 2 to 4 years of work for some employees before retiring .
“Note: in 2012 the Mill pension plan was underfunded by millions of dollars . I wonder if government pushed the administrator and Northern Pulp to catch up ? Unifor knew about this but it appears nothing was done about the danger . Will this be like the Sears shortfall for retirees ? and will current employees be robbed of any benefit ?
” We do not rule out the use of true surplus biomass energy plants that are very efficient – such as the new one at Dalhousie University Bible Hill campus . Real surplus comes from power line clearing / maintenance , Construction waste , demolition waste , sawmill waste ,and some forest thinning waste . These efficient burners / furnaces do give off CO2 etc but when dried wood is burned it is less than coal or petcoke burning by NSP.

“Community biomass energy plants that make electricity and heat distributed throughout the community remove the emissions from home / business furnaces and water heating tanks. Add in a vertical wind turbine(s) that makes electricity that feeds into a large battery storage and the result is a net reduction of emissions from that community. This is an area that government can assist and promote.”

Some of the Comments:

PM: Thank you, Don ! This is a great analysis of what has gone on and a map to the future. You are right on many levels and the price of wood from privately managed woodlots would go up as the objective would not be primarily bio and pulp but logs and lumber. I thinned a woodlot of mine for maple production.and after thinning it grew a cord of wood to the acre.

MA: Miles Away The trouble is that its mainly rich business brained idiots that run for office! Tell me one previous premier in NS that has ever been for the people? Every successive party in power has allowed the rape and destruction of forests and environment and health so business can make money,even if its foreign owned. We need a government that will actually listen to the people and be for the people. A government that actually reads the science behind things before blindly giving money away.An environment department that actually cares about the province not just granting licenses to any company that asks….Nova Scotia….a paradise run by idiots….

WWNS: Premier McNeil comes from humble roots. He’s far from rich. Nova Scotia is in a mess financially. I believe he cares deeply about the province. But he inherited a quagmire, forestry being part of it. He is standing firm on Boat Harbour. He has the Lahey Report to guide things forward. There’s a reason why they say Rome wasn’t built in a day. Let’s give the guy a chance. If he doesn’t come through then come down on him. I’m just saying – for what it’s worth.

MA to WWNS: I am all for giving people a chance,if it means moving forward for the good of all! I am harsh because of the 6 million given to the mill and the fact that the environment dept has not been changed and is basically useless. I know things take time to change esp in govt. I am hoping he makes the right choice and follows the Lahey report! I really like your informative diplomatic approach in all the posts. I think some of the best information i have gotten is from Woods and Waters! Thanks!

DGP to MA: There is also good discussion of Mill issues on 95.7, both sides well represented, even though NP has paid ads on the station- I think the ads actually stimulate the discussion – more people phone in.

DC to WWNS: Sadly Mr McNeil doesn’t have time to delay action. The issues are now and the Global Warming Clock and Countdown has only seconds left. No doubt he really has our welfare at heart yet that’s not enough. Actions speak louder than words.

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