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More transparency sought in aquaculture project

Queens-Shelburne deserves answers from Cooke Aquaculture and Minister Colwell, says MLA

Queens-Shelburne MLA Kim Masland attended a rally in Fort Point, Queens County last week against the expansion of Cooke Aquaculture’s sea farming operations.

Masland has been working with residents to assess what a potential expansion would mean for the community. Masland says many constituents are concerned because the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture has given Cooke Aquaculture’s Kelly Cove Salmon an option to apply for new fish farm sites in the bay just outside Liverpool.

“My job is to be the voice at the provincial level. Members of the community have said, loudly and clearly, that they don’t want this expansion, yet they don’t feel like their concerns are being heard by Minister Colwell or Cooke Aquaculture,” said Masland. “The community should have a significant voice in any decision taken by the Liberal government.”

Masland has written to Minister Colwell, asking him to make the process more open and transparent. She said last week she had yet to hear back from him.

“I want to be clear in my position. I fully support industries like aquaculture. What I don’t support is a company and a government that isn’t transparent,“ said Masland. “No one has been able to tell me or the community what the economic benefit is to the host community. We have a thriving tourism and seafood industry, both that are booming. Just last year, Shelburne county won bragging rights after selling the highest value of lobster in the province. We can’t jeopardize it.”

In a media release Masland says a public meeting was held in Liverpool a few weeks ago but residents left disappointed as it wasn’t an open forum to ask questions and voice concerns. Minister Colwell has confirmed this is the only meeting Cooke is required to have.

He also confirmed that the company must submit all feedback it receives from the community.

Masland encourages all residents with concerns and questions to submit them to Cooke.

“I want to assure everyone that I will continue to work on your behalf and make sure your concerns are heard,” says Masland.

“Everyone with concerns or questions must write to Cooke Aquaculture. I will push Cooke to make these submissions public.”

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