Court rules province must consult Pictou Landing First Nation on financing for Northern Pulp

A Nova Scotia Supreme Court decision says the province needs to consult with a Mi'kmaq community about how public money is provided to a pulp mill that has sent its effluent into an estuary near the band for decades.

Justice Timothy Gabriel ruled last week that if the province becomes a financial backer of Northern Pulp's effluent treatment plant, it needs to talk to the Pictou Landing First Nation about that funding.

Gabriel also says the government should take a ``holistic'' approach and consider how consulting on the financing ties in with the environmental issues involved.

He says the two issues are linked, and he gives the example of how funding might be tied to whether emission and effluent discharge targets are reached.

Provincial legislation requires the closure of the facility at the heavily polluted Boat Harbour lagoon by the end of January 2020.

The province has said it is in discussions with Northern Pulp regarding Crown funding for the treatment facility for effluent, though the amount it may contribute remains unclear.