Top News

'There's no question, this funding is locked in' Feds commit $100 million to Boat Harbour remediation

Pictou Landing First Nation Chief Andrea Paul speaking after the federal government announces $100 million investment in Boat Harbour remediation with her council and community beside her.
Pictou Landing First Nation Chief Andrea Paul speaking after the federal government announced a $100 million investment toward the Boat Harbour remediation project. - Brendan Ahern
PICTOU LANDING, N.S. —

In only a matter of days in the 1960s the abundance of A’se'k was transformed into the industrial waste treatment facility of Boat Harbour. Now the community of Pictou Landing First Nation is one step closer to seeing the tidal estuary returned to its natural state.

“If I could sum it up in one word it would be reconciliation,” said Chief Andrea Paul on May 23 after it was announced that the federal government will be contributing $100 million to the remediation of Boat Harbour.

“It validates the work that we have been doing as a community, and I think it really just puts that reassurance that both levels of government have listened and taken our concerns seriously.”

Central Nova MP Sean Fraser made the funding announcement outside of the lawn of the PLFN Health Centre. He was also joined by Nova Scotia minister for Health, Randy Delorey.

Sean Fraser announces a federal commitment of $100 to the clean up of Boat Harbour.

Sean Fraser announces a federal commitment of $100 to the clean up of Boat Harbour - Brendan Ahern

The $100 million will go to the cost for the remediation project which is currently estimated at $217 million, with the province of Nova Scotia paying the remainder.

But at this stage, that total cost is still a moving target.

“When we do estimations of costs for remediation, we learn more as we do our planning work,” said Ken Swain who is the program director for the Boat Harbour remediation project.

“It’s not like building a house where at the start you can accurately estimate the cost,” he said.

Right now, Swain says that the pilot-scale work has started in an area of Boat Harbour that workers have sectioned off. This stage is meant to mimic what full-scale remediation of the site will look like, providing information which will allow for a more refined estimation for bidders when the project goes to tender.

“We’d like to be faced with all the problems that we’re going to be faced with now, rather than later,” said Swain. “We’re learning from it and that’s the purpose.”

Swain told The News that the pilot scale work will likely be wrapped up at the end of June and that right now the timeline for the completion of the remediation project is 2025. But again, at this stage nothing is certain.

“We’re not really driven by schedule,” Swain said. “Our concern is making sure we get it right. So we don’t want to hurry the process.”

The $100 million dollars comes through the bilateral infrastructure agreement between the provincial and federal governments. When asked if the federal government would be willing to add more funding should the cost of remediation go up, Fraser said that that would be contingent on future applications for funding.

“Right now, we know it’s going to be $100 million, but I don’t want to speculate on what might happen years from now when other people might be in this office.”

That said, Fraser told reporters that the investment is not contingent on the outcomes of the next election.

“This has been approved by the federal treasury board. There’s no question this funding is locked in and it’s going to be used for the remediation and restoration of Boat Harbour,” he said.

Recent Stories