At the end of July, the Shelburne County resident voiced a complaint about what she considered to be a mess of equipment on property owned by Cooke Aquaculture.
The property is located on Route 3 in Sandy Point, close to one of Cooke Aquaculture’s salmon pens, and also near Belong’s home.
Belong’s view looks out over the Shelburne harbour and she often sits outside her home to watch the boats sail by. In late July she was upset when she looked out to see piles of equipment outside of the small fenced-in area around the property.
While she says that the view of the site is disturbing, it goes beyond this.
“It not only affects us and our neighbours, but the community as a whole…this is our Lighthouse Route.”
Belong attempted to get the attention of the company by phoning, writing letters and speaking to her council representative. When that didn’t work, she contacted the media.
“We have committed to making improvements,” Nell Halse, a representative for Cooke Aquaculture, had said when asked about the issue. “This includes moving and consolidating some of the equipment on site right away.”
She said a new and better fence, along with landscaping of the area, was part of the improvement plan.
"As part of the property improvement plan, the fence needed to be moved closer to the road. This allows us to control traffic within the facility and to set up a disinfection station right by the gate," said Halse.
Belong began to see activity with the company cleaning up the area and for a moment felt her voice was being heard, she said.
But a few weeks later she saw Cooke’s Aquaculture had started erected what she thinks is a 14-foot fence.
Belong feels this is retaliation. She said the existing, smaller fence would have worked if the company had used it to hide the equipment.
Halse previously had noted the property is a working location with a farm lease, which is why the equipment was on the property.
With the height of the fence being built, Belong says the view from her home will be impacted.
Belong has lived in her house for 46 years, long before the site across from her home was turned into an industrial use.
She said she never had any issues with the previous company that did business there before Cooke’s moved in.
“They were always neat and tidy,” she said. “I’m sure with this mess my property value will decrease significantly.”