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November 1, 2018

Nordic Aquafarms’ $150M project faces key test in Belfast’s Tuesday elections

Courtesy / Nordic Aquafarms
Courtesy / Nordic Aquafarms
A rendering showing the entrance to the proposed Belfast land-based salmon farm.Tuesday’s local election in Belfast could play a decisive role in whether Norway-based company proceeds with its $150 million Phase 1 investment in a state-of-the-art land-based aquaculture facility on a 40-acre site off Route 1, since three candidates seeking election to the six-member City Council are opposed to the project.

Tuesday's local election in Belfast could play a decisive role in whether Norway-based Nordic Aquafarms proceeds with its $150 million Phase 1 investment in a state-of-the-art land-based aquaculture facility on a 40-acre site off Route 1.

The project, first announced in January, is proceeding through the permitting process, which includes reviews and permit approvals from state and federal agencies as well as local approvals.

The current Belfast City Council has been solidly behind the proposal, but that could change in Tuesday's election, according to Maine Public's Fred Bever, who reported that three candidates who are prominent salmon farm opponents are seeking seats on the six-member council. Two of those candidates are write-ins.

If all three are elected, City Councilor Mike Hurley told Bever it could make a difference on how Nordic Aquafarms' plans proceed.

"What happens on Election Day is absolutely critical," said Hurley, a backer of the project who is not seeking reelection. Maine Public reported Hurley's view that if the three salmon-farm opponents are elected the proposal is likely to hit a roadblock at the local level.

"If only two win, and there's three who are in favor, I would still look at that as a radical message from the people of Belfast, that they bought the 'no' argument," Hurley told Maine Public.

In an Oct. 19 news release, Nordic Aquafarms reported that the Belfast City Council reaffirmed support for zoning changes that will allow the project to be built on 40 acres that the company has an agreement to purchase from the Belfast Water District. Nordic Aquafarms has also previously agreed with Mathews Brothers to acquire an additional 14 acres of adjacent land that is already zoned for industrial purposes.

"As the people elected by all Belfast citizens to represent their interests, the councilors' votes reflect the strong support that we have in the community," Nordic Aquafarms President Erik Heim said in the release. "We will continue to work with the council, city officials and Belfast residents to ensure that our state-of-the-art, environmentally responsible land-based salmon farm benefits everyone and promotes Belfast as global leader in the aquaculture industry."

Read more

Midcoast Maine emerges as hub for launching land-based salmon-farm sector

Nordic Aquafarms founder moving to Maine to run planned salmon farm

Nordic Aquafarms heads to DEP with discharge application

Nordic Aquafarms acquires additional land in Belfast

Deloitte issues 'due diligence' report on Nordic Aquafarms' $150M project in Belfast

Zoning change advances Nordic Aquafarms' $150M project in Belfast

Norwegian aquaculture company plans to invest up to $500M in Belfast

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