About the Film
As the 2020 deadline to close the Boat Harbour effluent treatment facility approaches, the divided community of Pictou County, Nova Scotia is facing a major turning point in the fifty-year old controversy surrounding the pulp mill situated on the shore of Pictou Harbour. Will the Government of Nova Scotia allow a new plan to pipe treated effluent directly into the fishing grounds of the Northumberland Strait? As opposition to the pipe mounts, there is a growing sense that what separates a community can also bring it together in new ways.
The Issues at Play
When the Government of Nova Scotia announced that the Boat Harbour Effluent Treatment Facility would close in 2020 it was a huge win for the members of Pictou Landing First Nation. A spill of untreated effluent on their sacred burial ground in 2014 sparked a blockade that closed the Pictou County pulp mill. To end the standoff the Government agreed to the long-standing demand of the Pictou Landing Band to close the toxic treatment facility that has poisoned their air, land and water for 50 years, bringing to an end Nova Scotia’s worst case of environmental racism.
But in December 2017, the victory turned to dismay. To keep the mill in operation a new effluent treatment facility was required to replace Boat Harbour. The mill announced that the new facility would pipe effluent through Pictou Harbour and release it directly into the Northumberland Strait and the lobster fishing grounds crucial to both indigenous and non-indigenous fishers.
What is happening in Pictou County is mirrored in rural areas across Canada where they are often exposed to the impact of resource industries. Many indigenous communities on reserves are on the frontlines of the fallout from pollution and other forms of environmental degradation and so are the adjacent non-indigenous towns and villages. The film focuses on the particular circumstances of this part of Nova Scotia as a microcosm of struggles taking place across the country and, indeed, the globe as communities seek a balance between jobs and the environment.