A consulting firm hired by Northern Pulp says meeting the 2020 deadline to replace the Boat Harbour Treatment Facility is one that may or may not be realistically met.
Boat Harbour file photo
“In our experience from other projects and given the current climate, there is a 50-50 chance of successful completion in order to meet the deadlines presented in this report,” Guy Martin, KSH Solutions principal consultant, process and environment wrote in a letter to the company.
He sited certain issues such as getting through the red tape of appovals that would be needed as well as the fact that the start up wouldn’t be possible in winter months.
“Given the approval for the outfall will be complex and, to a certain extent, controversial, a time frame of 18 months for the project, based on a 30-month federal approval period, leaves very little room for contingencies to allow for the proper start-up of the new wastewater treatment plant while maintaining full compliance with the terms and conditions of the IA (industrial approval).”
Terri Fraser, technical manager for Northern Pulp cited these concerns during a presentation to the Law Amendments Committee on Monday.
“Northern Pulp would like to work cooperatively with the province but to date despite repeated efforts by Northern Pulp, the province has not engaged in any meaningful discussions on a path forward, espiecally as it relates to Boat Harbour. We believe the timelines as outlined in the Bill are entirely unrealistic.”
She said that major capital improvements would have to be undertaken within the mill to prepare for this new facility and to meet the new aggressive IA requirements.
“Fixing Boat Harbour is a good thing but in doing so the province must also respect its contractual obligations and afford Northern Pulp and the forest products sector the opportunity to stay in business.”
Progressive Conservative MLA for Pictou East, Tim Houston introduced an amendment to the Boat Harbour Act that he says would strengthen the bill and ensure that there is a clear plan for the cleanup that protects community and the economy.
“This is too important to mess up,” said Houston. “The success of this cleanup depends heavily on a clear plan with defined roles and responsibilities and unfortunately, the current bill is missing that.”
The PC amendment requires timelines be in place by August 31, 2016 for a post-2020 plan.
“No project this big and this important happens without a timeline," Houston said. "A plan is needed to finally close this contaminated site and the community deserves to know all along the way that goals and timelines are being met.”
Pictou County MLAs Karla MacFarlane, Pat Dunn and Tim Houston stated in a release that they welcome the cleanup of Boat Harbour, but noted that two attempts to clean up the Sydney tar Ponds had failed before the third attempt at cleaning up one of Canada’s most contaminated sites was successful.
“When you look at the starts and stops in Sydney, we have the opportunity to learn from past mistakes in other projects,” says Karla MacFarlane, Pictou West MLA. “A clear plan with defined roles and responsibilities is necessary.”
• Boat Harbour Treatment Facility was built in 1967
• It has been used by the mill at Abercrombie since 1967
• It was also used by Canso Chemicals between 1971 and 1992
• Northern Pulp currently leases the facility from the province