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This Stinks

Editor's note: This open letter to the mayor and city council members of Belfast, Maine, expresses the opinion of Belfast resident Lawrence Reichard on a 40-acre salmon factory farm proposed by Norway-based Nordic Aquafarms. More about the project here.

To the Mayor and City Council:

On behalf of many of my fellow Belfast citizens, I'm sorry that democracy is inconvenient for you. I apologize.

But you see, we live here. This is our home. And we think we should have a say in what happens here. We don't think big corporations should be able to do whatever they want while we're expected to roll over and play dead. We don't like being handed a done deal.

The decision to change zoning so Nordic Aquafarms can build one of the world's biggest land-based industrial salmon farms here in Belfast was clearly made well before the formal vote. Why else have the April 17 city council meeting in the tiny city council chamber, which everyone knew would overflow.

To be able to televise the meeting, we're told. But at least some of you knew it could be televised elsewhere. And why were accommodations not made so Director of Code and Planning Director Wayne Marshall's presentation materials could be seen by the public?