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Premier Houston sees no issue with former PC candidate appointment as head of aquaculture board

By Evan Taylor Feb 23, 2024 | 1:17 PM

Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston has expressed confidence in the appointment of Tim Cranston, a former Progressive Conservative candidate, as the new chair of the Nova Scotia Aquaculture Review Board.

Amidst concerns about potential bias, particularly regarding the board’s upcoming decision on expanding fish farming in Liverpool Bay, Houston assured reporters that Cranston’s political background would not compromise the board’s independence.

Addressing inquiries following a recent cabinet meeting, Houston emphasized Cranston’s tenure on the board, highlighting his capacity for impartiality. “Mr. Cranston has been on that board for quite some time,” Houston stated. “He’s a free thinker. As a member of that board, he’ll listen to the evidence and hear the hearings.”

The change in leadership occurred as Chairwoman Jean McKenna’s term expired on February 15.

McKenna had served as chairwoman since the board’s establishment in 2017 under the previous Liberal government. The transition comes at a critical juncture as Kelly Cove Salmon, a subsidiary of Cooke Aquaculture, seeks approval for an expansion of its fish farm operation in Liverpool Bay.

Kelly Cove’s application, submitted in 2019, proposes an increase in the number of pens at existing and new sites near Coffin Island, Brooklyn, and Mersey Point. The upcoming hearings, scheduled to commence on April 2 at the Best Western Plus in Liverpool, have garnered significant attention, with various groups granted intervenor status.

Among the intervenors are Protect Liverpool Bay, the Region of Queens, the Brooklyn Marina, 22 Lobster Fishermen of Liverpool Bay, and Kwilmu’kw Maw-Klusuaqn, representing the Acadia First Nation. Their involvement underscores the diverse interests and stakeholders invested in the decision-making process regarding aquaculture expansion in Nova Scotia.

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