As many as 100 truckers are expected to park their rigs on both sides of Highway 104 near Truro Thursday afternoon.
The action is aimed at sending a message to the Nova Scotia government about the importance of the province’s forestry industry in an effort to give Northern Pulp more time to work towards a solution to replacing Boat Harbour as a disposal site for its waste effluent.
“It’s more of a support rally,” said spokesperson Jeff Black, of J.C. Black Trucking Ltd. “Just wanting to get some attention in regards to the extension that’s required over at Boat Harbour for Northern Pulp to keep working until they get everything straightened out.”
In 2015 the province notified the mill’s current owners, Paper Excellence, that it has until next Jan. 31 to come up with an alternative method for processing its waste. A proposed solution of piping the effluent into the Northumberland Strait waters near Caribou has been hotly contested by the wider fishing community and numerous area residents.
The province has also been adamant that it is not backing down from its 2020 deadline.
Black, however, said the truckers, many of whom are heavily involved in the forest industry, want the government to relax its deadline until to give the mill time to develop a workable and environmentally safe solution.
“The log trucker and chip truck haulers and a lot of the truckers involved in forestry in regards to the operations of Northern Pulp, they’re frustrated and they want to show some support and to try and drum up some interest in the province here in regards to getting the extension required at Boat Harbour for Northern Pulp to continue running the mill,” he said. “And it’s a very serious matter, without that extension the mill could shut down and it may not possibly start again.”
And, that, Black said, could be devastating for the province’s $2.1-billion dollar forest industry, which includes many in the trucking business.
“The mill is very imperative to the economy of Nova Scotia,” he said. “I think that people are getting a little frustrated that we’re not getting answers, we’re not getting results that we need to continue doing business.
“Give them time to get their work done. Don’t put us out of business meanwhile. Don’t let the mill shut down and put us all out of business. Let them run the mill, let them get their answers to the questions that the government is looking for. Give them time to get it right. And if it’s done right and meets all their guidelines and standards … then everybody in the province wins in the situation.”
The rally is expected to run from about noon to 3 p.m.