More time needed for public feedback on Northern Pulp's focus report: FONS

Northern Pulp Mill

Local community group Friends of the Northumberland Strait (FONS) is asking the Minister of Environment to grant more time for public comments on Northern Pulp's focus report.

The Pictou County mill submitted the report last week, and Environment Minister Gordon Wilson set a deadline of November 8, 2019 for public input on the mill's controversial effluent treatment plant proposal. The government says a decision on the proposed effluent treatment plant will be made within 39 days after the public input period ends.

FONS wants Wilson to extend the deadline by an additional 30 days, to December 9, 2019, citing the current timeline doesn't give people enough time to properly review the report and respond.

Northern Pulp's focus report is well over two and a half thousand pages, containing many technical reports and additional materials.

The report was ordered in the spring by then-Environment Minister Margaret Miller, who said following an environmental review in March that her department needed more information about the plan.

Company officials have said that if their plan to pipe 85 million litres of treated wastewater into the Northumberland Strait is not approved, the mill will close.

The province's Liberal government passed legislation in 2015 that gave the mill until Jan. 31, 2020, to come up with a new treatment plant project.