Dear residents of Digby Neck
In the weeks since our community meeting in Digby on January 15, we have heard strong opposition voiced by area residents. We have received emails and letters, all of which have been saved and recorded and will be part of our feasibility and engagement work summary.
We want to assure you that we have received and heard your opposition.
We have noted the issues and concerns raised including the displacement of commercial fishermen, the loss of income for families, the impacts on local commercial fisheries, pollution, ocean-floor impacts, potential for interaction with marine mammals such as the endangered Right whale, impacts of local tourism (whale watching, tours, etc.), fish welfare, water quality of nearby recreational beaches and overall loss of use.
All of this has been documented and saved along with the numbers of residents who have attended these meetings, travelled extensive distances to do so, and passionately voiced their opposition and concern.
Alongside the strong opposition and feedback we have received from residents of Digby Neck, we are also aware of the recent position taken by the Municipality of the District of Digby. At the January 27, 2020 Committee of the Whole meeting, the Council voted and passed a motion opposing the expansion of salmon farming into St. Mary’s Bay.
We acknowledge and respect the voice of the residents and the motion approved by the Municipality of the District of Digby.
The question we are wrestling with is this:
Prior to the January 15 meeting and the recent motion, we had booked a community meeting in Sandy Cove on February 7, 2020 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Fire Hall.
Do we proceed with the meeting, knowing that the area is strongly opposed which seems counterintuitive to the regions wishes? Or do we go ahead – acknowledging that prior to the Digby meeting, we did receive calls from Sandy Cove and Digby Neck residents who made the decision to not attend the Digby meeting, knowing they could attend the meeting in Sandy Cove on February 7.
In the end, we have decided to honour the commitment we made with the original meeting booking, and we will be moving ahead with the meeting in Sandy Cove on Friday, February 7. The decision has been made in an effort to acknowledge and respect the decision of residents and the Board, as well as those residents who had planned to attend the session.
We can appreciate the passion and energy of the community, and don’t want to impede the ability of engaged residents to get involved. We also want to ensure the meeting is constructive, that all meeting participants feel safe, and that all attendees are given the opportunity to voice their opinion.
In order to accomplish this, we will be changing the meeting format. The meeting will still be held on February 7, at 2:00 p.m. at the Sandy Cove Fire Hall, but instead of sharing a presentation or hosting information stations, we have asked our team members to be available around the room with pen and paper to record all feedback and concerns voiced and shared with us. We will also be able to answer questions and share information. We hope that this change is respectful of existing positions, while providing residents who haven’t had the opportunity to be heard to share their feedback and opinions.
Thank you –
Sustainable Development Director, East Coast Cermaq Canada