Mayor anxious to see natural gas in Pictou County


NEW GLASGOW – Mayor Barrie MacMillan says the news that natural gas is coming to Pictou County has been a long time coming.

He said he has been advocating for it to come to the area since he joined the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce in 1991 and before that, the chamber was pushing for it since 1979.

Energy Minister Charlie Parker announced last week that Heritage Gas will be extending its natural gas pipeline to Northern Pulp at Abercrombie Point if the project is approved by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board.

Jim Bracken, president of Heritage Gas, said extending the pipeline to Abercrombie Point is the first phase of its project in Pictou County, which is expected to start this spring and be finished by December. After that, Bracken said the company will move on to phase two.

“Phase two is an extension to New Glasgow and Stellarton, and we are currently planning that for sometime in 2014,” Bracken said at the announcement. “We’ll assess the level of interest in New Glasgow and Stellarton and we already know that the interest there is quite strong.”

MacMillan said he knows there are some businesses and institutions in New Glasgow that have already expressed interest in becoming natural gas customers including Aberdeen Hospital and Sobeys stores.

“I think that this partnership between Heritage Gas and Northern Pulp and the province will certainly be the catalyst for further investment and for further development that will bring many benefits to our businesses, our major institutions and our communities,” MacMillan said. “What sticks out in my mind is the hospital. They got natural gas many years ago in Amherst and it has cut their energy bill in half, by 50 per cent. That’s how much it means.”

He added that there were a number of people and organizations in Pictou County who have worked for many years to relay to the province that the area is interested in natural gas.

“The Town of New Glasgow with the co-operation of the Municipality of the County of Pictou and the PRDA, we formed an advisory committee on natural gas and as a matter of fact New Glasgow and the county put in some funding to enable us to hire the consultant to study natural gas,” he said, adding that the Town of New Glasgow will continue to provide information to Heritage Gas as they investigate phase 2 of its Pictou County project.

MacMillan lauded the Department of Energy, Heritage Gas and Northern Pulp for working together to bring natural gas to Pictou County.

(The News - Pictou County)