Hannah Fleury, 9, of Central Caribou, has been keeping a close eye on the news and Northern Pulp’s proposed plan for an effluent pipe leading into the Northumberland Strait. The youth has attended many of the rallies and open houses on the issue, and wrote a letter to the provincial environment minister. Submitted photo

She may only be nine years old, but that isn’t stopping Hannah Fleury from voicing her concerns to the provincial government.

Hannah, who lives in Central Caribou, has penned a letter to Environment Minister Margaret Miller with her thoughts on Northern Pulp’s plans of building an effluent pipe that would disperse treated effluent into the Northumberland Strait. Hannah’s mother, Nicole MacKenzie, said her daughter saw her and Hannah’s father, Ryan Fleury, writing their own letters.

“She asked if she could write one too, and we said sure,” said MacKenize. “We thought it was great she wanted to write her own.”

MacKenzie said they discussed the things Hannah wanted to include in the letter, and went over it a number of times before sending it along. The deadline was earlier in March, so no responses have been received.

“She goes out on Saturdays, lobster fishing with her grandfather and father,” said MacKenzie, adding they’ve been talking to her about the pulp mill’s plans. “She knows what’s been going on and has been pretty involved in it. She made a video on how to make a sign for a rally, has been to the rallies and most of the open houses. She’s also been to quite a few of the speaking events.”

MacKenzie provided media outlets with Hannah’s open letter to the minister, which can be read below.

Dear Environment Minister Margaret Miller,

I am writing to you about Northern Pulp’s pipe that they want to build. I am nine years old from Central Caribou, NS. Please do not dismiss my letter because of my age. I have grown up on the beaches of Caribou and my cottage on Pictou Island. I have fished lobster with my grandfather and father every spring since I was four. My Great-grandfather, grandfather and father have all fished the same Pictou Island grounds that I would like to fish someday. Kids like Greta Thunberg are making grownups take climate change serious, if she can do that maybe I can do the same with this pipe idea, because it is serious, seriously bad.

I am asking you to not allow Northern Pulp to put their pipe in our ocean. It will make all the marine life swim away. People around the world are making changes and working to stop pollution, why would we allow this to happen to our beautiful beaches, to the animals and fish that live in the Northumberland Strait. We need to think forward not backwards.

In 4H I am doing a project on Sustainable Fishing Practices in Nova Scotia. While doing my project I have found lots of examples of fishermen, scientists and First Nations working together and coming up with ideas so there are still fish in the ocean in the future. Destroying their marine habitat with brown, hot, smelly water is not sustainable.

When I was at marine biology camp we did an experiment with oil on a feather and used Dawn soap to try and get it off like in the commercials. It was hard to get any of the oil off and in the end we weren’t able to get it all. We were learning about a spill, an accident, this pipe will be pumping an unimaginable amount of pollution on purpose everyday into the ocean. This experiment also made me think about the Dawn commercial, using hurt ducks to sell their soap and it made me mad. I have to listen to Northern Pulp commercials everyday telling me how great they are, but just because it is in a commercial does not make it true.

In school we talk about not littering, reduce, reuse and recycle. We learn about pollution and what we can do to help the Earth, but we are not allowed to talk about Northern Pulp even though some days when the wind is blowing the smog toward our school we have to play inside because the air hurts to breathe and it smells worse than dog farts. If you allow them to build their new system it will be burning sludge on top of what they burn now, it will be worse.

If you have ever played on a beach, ate seafood, enjoyed your day on a boat I want you to think about that when you make your decision, think about that and think about a nine year old in Caribou NS staring out at a new Boat Harbour.

Thank you for reading my letter,

Hannah Fleury

Central Caribou

In Northern Pulp’s registration document for the environmental assessment (found online at www.novascotia.ca/nse/ea), the company says it plans to use an AxnoKaldnes BAS™ biological activated sludge treatment process. The process combines moving conventional activated sludge with bed biofilm reactor technology.

The proposed project would see the treated effluent travel a pipeline along Highway 106 for more than 11 kilometres before entering marine environment near Northumberland Ferries’ marine terminal. From there, the pipeline would continue for 4.1 kilometres through Caribou Harbour to the Northumberland Strait where it would be discharged by an engineered diffuser.

The environment minister will decide on or before March 29 if approval can be granted.