At the Nov. 28 council meeting, councillor Leland Anthony requested a slight change in the wording of the PAC recommendation to allow land-based aquaculture in the rural industrial zone, subject to regulations protecting the environment.
“I would rather see development agreement on that motion instead of environment because development agreement will cover all aspects of that, plus more,” he said.
The motion was approved after the amendment. The issue will be discussed in more depth at the next PAC meeting on Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. in the council chambers. The public is permitted to attend and observe but not comment. There will be a public hearing on the amendment on a date yet to be set and advertised.
The amendment would be one of several adjustments necessary for the establishment of an eel production facility on Blueberry Hill in Chebogue by Jason Lee of Red Ocean Inc.
Last month dozens of residents voiced their concerns about the potential facility during an information meeting at the Arcadia school. They expressed anger at the possible pollution of the Chebogue River.
PAC chair John Cunningham told those at the Nov. 28 meeting that he had visited Sustainable Blue, an inland aquaculture operation near Windsor.
“Their operation is a fully-contained closed loop system which means they draw water in but nothing leaves. They were quite proud of the fact that they only lost one cubic metre of water per day.
“They had a separation tank to separate the fish waste from the water in the pens and they only had to get one tandem pump truck in three years to pump out the waste in their tank.
“That goes to show that inland aquaculture can be environmentally friendly,” he said.
Cunningham added that the company was able to produce fish in 13 months using the system, whereas ocean-grown fish would take 24 months.
The change allowing aquaculture operations in an RI zone would affect all of the RI zones in the municipality.