Fish hatchery plan worries Annapolis County residents

Cooke Aquaculture is considering launching an operation in Granville Beach, N.S.

Cooke Aquaculture considering launching operation in Granville Beach

Cooke Aquaculture has fish farms and a feed mill in Nova Scotia, but no hatchery. The company operates in Atlantic Canada, Maine, Scotland, Chile and Spain. (Robert F. Bukaty/The Associated Press)

Residents who live near Granville Beach in Annapolis County, N.S., are worried about a possible plan to bring a fish hatchery to the area.

Hague Vaughan, a spokesperson for the newly formed Granville Road Ratepayers Association, said residents recently learned that Cooke Aquaculture had purchased an option to buy a piece of land on Granville Road near Stoney Beach Road.

Purchasing an option gives a purchaser the exclusive right to buy a property, but it is not obligated to do so, says a posting on

Through informal inquiries, residents learned the company was considering building a fish hatchery in the area.

Vaughan said residents are concerned about the possible effects of such a business on their quality of life.

"I fully expect you'll have fairly odorous effluent and settling ponds that are going to be giving off odours. I think there will be probably noise from pumps 24 hours a day, I think there'll be lights 24 hours a day."

They're also worried about property values, truck traffic and the effect on the tourism industry.

Historic area

But most of all, Vaughan said, locals simply feel an industrial operation doesn't belong in an area with such historic significance.

Cooke Aquaculture is considering building a fish hatchery in Granville Beach, indicated on the map with a red mark. (Google Maps)

The area along Granville Road, which runs from Granville Ferry near Annapolis Royal to the Victoria Beach area near Digby Gut, is filled with tidal marshes that were once home to Acadian dykeland farmers.

"We are stewards, if you will, of a landscape that is historic and that should be maintained for the sake of Canadians," Vaughan said.

"To start plunking around industry in the middle of it, it's so reprehensible."

Land purchase not finalized

A spokesperson for Cooke Aquaculture declined an interview request, but confirmed in an email that the company is considering the spot for a fish hatchery. It hasn't yet closed the land purchase deal, which is in part contingent upon the results of water testing.

"No decision has been made and if we did want to build here, we would have to comply with all the relevant environmental regulations," said Nell Halse.

Residents say the area along Granville Road in Annapolis County has historical value and should not become industrialized. (Granville Road Ratepayers Association)

Halse said the project would use recirculated water, which would limit water usage.

"This would be a barn for fish instead of cows with all the modern technology to minimize impacts and should be a great fit and viewed as an employment opportunity and economic generator for the province," she wrote.

No zoning rules

Halse said the company has offered to meet with residents to provide further information about the project.

Vaughan said residents want more details, but they'd like to receive the information in writing first so they can adequately prepare for a meeting.

He added that the area has no zoning regulations. Residents may approach the Municipality of the County of Annapolis to request that zoning be established.

Granville Beach is in Premier Stephen McNeil's provincial riding.