“It is very important that Cooke know directly that most residents of this area, not just Granville Road residents are adamantly against a fish farm/hatchery in Granville Beach,” reads an email sent from the Granville Road Ratepayers Association to the community at large, vowing to “oppose it every step of the way.”
Cooke Aquaculture spokesperson Nell Halse confirmed the company has “an accepted offer on approximately 20 acres of property,” in the Granville area.
“We are doing our due diligence now - testing for water, etc.,” Halse said.
At this point, no final decision has been made, said Halse.
“We are still in the very early stages of deciding the location,” adding the company is also looking at a potential site in Mink Cove, Digby County, that previously had a hatchery on it.
“There’s a lot to consider before deciding,” she said.
Building a fish hatchery in Nova Scotia is “something the company has wanted to do for some time, said Halse.
“We are at the stage where we are looking at it," she said, noting a fish hatchery “would not be some big, ugly commercial or industrial building. We have one in New Brunswick that’s all landscaped… you would almost think it was a greenhouse.”
Cooke also operates hatcheries in Newfoundland and Maine.
Halse said the company has received some calls from people in the Granville area who are concerned about the potential development. “We have no intention of coming in and taking over a small rural community,” said Halse.
The company does plan to meet with local residents by mid-August to hear concerns and discuss the company’s intentions, she said.
“We have not made a decision to build a hatchery there, we are only looking at the location at this stage,” said Halse. “We have put in an offer to buy a piece of land, but nothing concrete is planned.”
Area residents opposed
Dr. Hague Vaughn, spokesperson for the Granville Road Ratepayers Association, said residents have numerous concerns when it comes to the potential development, including the impact it might have on the groundwater aquifer and supply, property values and on the rich, historic and cultural landscape of the area, which includes two national historic sites: Melanson Settlement and the Habitation.
“The Granville Road is one of the oldest roads in North America,” he said, with tourism a major economic component in the area. “We don’t want an industrial expansion in the middle of it.”
Vaughn added that “feeling is strong in the community. People have started to band together.”
Vaughn said residents have requested a meeting with Premier Stephen McNeil, who is also the MLA for the area, to discuss the situation.