Editor's note: The following letter was received after deadline and appears only online at the author's request.

Good questions

Having attended the city of Belfast Planning Board meeting last night (Aug. 19), I first want to thank all the people on the Board for their great time and effort in fulfilling their responsibilities to the people of Belfast. What a huge time consuming task, wading through regulations, requests, opinions and facts, concerning the request by Nordic Aquafarm to build a large industrial RAS salmon facility here! I was surprised that the city does not have an independent lawyer and other technical advisers contracted to help them formulate the questions that should be asked of a new international company looking to open what intends to be one of the world's largest facilities in an exploding field as technical and new as industrial-size aquaculture.

I am taking up the suggestion from last night's meeting to wade through the information that I heard and pick just a few questions that were raised about the technical ability of Nordic to complete this project successfully, and send these on to the Board. They are:

1. What is the ACTUAL experience, with land-based salmon farming — IE. how many full grown salmon have been farmed to maturity successfully by Nordic? I think the scale of the project may be what makes it experimental.

2. Can we get a clear description of the actual waste water system that is so critical to ensuring that the effluent of 7.7 million gallons a day is not harmful to the bay, or aquifer? Who is the designer of this and what is their experience?

3. And what about the software? This project's success will be totally reliant on the computerized system that operates it — what team is designing this? And who will be the responsible party? As a nurse practitioner who has been in the office when the computers go down, and we have absolutely no access to anyone's charts, this is a major concern that I never thought about until it was brought up last night. Fish need lights, heat, feed and cleaning 24 hours a day, no matter what.

4. The patents — does Nordic hold them or are they in contractual agreement with those who do? Also something I know nothing about and seems critical to have someone review this that understands patent law.

5. And finally, is there a surety bond or a specific contract with the city so that in the event the facility has major glitches, or goes bankrupt like several previous ventures, so the local taxpayer does not pay for clean up or an empty facility of this tremendous size?

These were some of the questions raised during the public response part of the meeting that sound to me like good questions to look at.

Meredith Bruskin