The Mill

Environmental controversy in Pictou Co. Nova Scotia

2019 52' Colour

    Producer, Writer, Director: David W. Craig
    Producer:Ann Bernier
    Cinematographer: Kevin Fraser
    Editor: Peter Giffen
    Composers: Ohad Benchetrit and Justin Small

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The Mill is an award-winning documentary portrait of a rural community deeply divided over the fate of the local pulp mill.

Welcome to Pictou County, Nova Scotia where a plan to redirect pulp effluent into the fishing grounds of the Northumberland Strait has stirred controversy. Lobster fishermen say “No Pipe!” The mill says “No Pipe No Mill”. A line has been drawn and with hundreds of jobs at stake the issue has reached a boiling point!

An interprovincial co-production between Halifax based Vertical Productions Inc. and Toronto based Site Media Inc.

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.

However, 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 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 and adjacent non-indigenous towns and villages are on the frontlines of the fallout from pollution and other forms of environmental degradation. The Mill documentary 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.