It was an unusual sight along Route 104 Thursday afternoon.
Dozens of trucks were parked on the shoulder of the road in an attempt by members of the forestry industry to increase support for Northern Pulp.
“This factory is closing, this industry is pretty much going to die,” said Matthew MacGillivary, a Northern Pulp entrepreneur. “The people lining the highway today won’t be there. We are going to lose our jobs.
Northern Pulp is scheduled to shut down the current Boat Harbor effluent treatment facility by January 2020.
The company has announced plans to build a new $ 130 million processing facility, but it has yet to get approval.
In a statement, a spokesperson said:
“The environmental assessment process is underway and the environment department has described the additional information it needs from the company to properly assess the impacts of the project on the environment. “
Plant owners have previously suggested they may have to shut down operations unless an extension is granted.
That is why workers from across the Maritimes have come together today.
“We call on the government to give Northern Pulp… the time it needs to complete this installation,” said MacGillivary. “That he needs it. This is what the province needs. To let him run. We need it.”
Trucking contractor Jeff Black said, “If the plant closes, we will lose about two-thirds of the province’s forestry industry. The industry represents $ 2.1 billion for the province. I suspect there will be a forestry industry, but that will only be part of what it is today.
However, not everyone feels the same. In a statement, Pictou Landing First Nation Chief Andrea Paul said, “I respect their position, but Pictou Landing First Nation continues to meet the legislated date of January 31, 2020.”
Friends of the Northumberland Strait say they sympathize with the workers, but want to see Boat Harbor cleaned up.
“I wonder if they really know what they are asking for, because what they are asking for is the continuation of environmental racism,” said Jill Graham-Scanlan, president of the Friends of the Northumberland Strait.
Graham-Scanlan says Northern Pulp is responsible for the position they currently hold.
“Northern Pulp has had five years to put this plan in place and allow the processing facility to close by January 2020,” Graham-Scanlan said.
Meanwhile, workers hope a solution can be found before jobs are affected.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Natasha Pace.