Although Friday began with feelings of betrayal for protesters at Indian Cross Point, it quickly turned into an outpouring of support.
Protesters discovered a section of the Northern Pulp effluent pipeline exposed Friday morning, prompting them to question how it happened and to monitor the area throughout the day.
The arrival of a 15-car convoy from Pictou tourism operators and residents was a sight for their sore eyes, honking their horns and carrying more food than the group could eat.
“The impact on businesses, tourism business, is very significant as a result of the mill. A lot of the time it’s fine, a lot of the time it isn’t. It makes it impossible to operate,” Anne Emmett, chair of the Hector Quay Society and owner of The Braeside Inn, said about why they were there.
Seventeen local businesses, town councillors and local MLAs met last night to come up with a plan of action to show their support in the demand for a cleaner Northern Pulp.
“(Tourists) get a whiff of the stench and look at the smog hanging over us and they basically leave. We lose the revenue from that night,” she said, adding that they also write negative reviews online, discouraging other tourists from coming to Pictou.
Lorie Dias is planning to open new accommodations in town within the next few weeks, The Pictou Puffin Bed and Breakfast.
Coming from Ontario, she was looking for an entrepreneurial opportunity, and fell in love with Pictou, prompting her to purchase a historical home by the foundry for her business.
“We were here two days and the mill never blew this way. Would it have stopped us? It may have. I’m kind of glad it didn’t because I do love the town. This is something that can be fixed.”
She echoed the statement of many others when she said she didn’t want to see Northern Pulp closed; she wants to see it run in an environmentally friendly way.
“You don’t know what you’re breathing… it’s like walking into a bar filled with cigarette smoke, back ten or 15 years ago. It’s not happening now there, so this shouldn’t be happening here either.”
Emmett points to business closures as an example of the effect the pulp mill has on the town.
“We’ve had four restaurants close in the last year in Pictou all directly related to the tourism industry. You tell me why the pub closes, Tim Hortons, and the Thai restaurant? There’s not enough business in town to support them. We’ve got to do something,” she said, adding that there aren’t enough residents to keep revenue up.
Emmett added that the comments were there strictly from a business point of view.