In response to the open letter by Michelle Glickman:
We appreciate the concerns raised in this letter, and wish to address some of those expressed. We take the concerns for the well being of our surrounding community very seriously, because we are also a part of this community and we wish to support and foster a balanced relationship with all those we share it with.
We value the importance of the tourism industry on Cortes, and the seasonal jobs it provides. However, ISF offers, year-round full-time employment with benefits, for twenty-five locals and their families. The shellfish industry has also been a vital aspect of the economy and community within the Gorge for generations.
We recognize that our equipment has raised new concerns about noise levels within the Gorge on Sundays and Tuesdays, the two days a week that we run our harvest operation. We have taken steps to address this issue, such as covering the main motor to reduce noise, and moving our harvest operations away from the more central B-islets. This move took place this year, at the end of this season when a complaint was brought to our attention. We also wish to maintain an open dialogue that will help us work with the community and make changes that allow us to continue operations.
We have made a concerted effort to maintain a low noise level and within regional bylaw limits. On two different occasions the regional inspector measured the decibel levels from shore, at two different sites, and found that our harvest operation registered at 63db with the occasional spike to 73db. Below is the WHO noise chart, which breaks down the decibel levels with common examples http://www.noisehelp.com/noise-level-chart.html
One of the issues raised was concerning processing within the Gorge. We would like to address the misconception that we are operating a processing plant inside of the Gorge, all our mussels are sent to an off-site processing plant in Campbell River.
Because we recognize that there are growing concerns within the Gorge about our operations we want to ensure that the local community has an effective and appropriate outlet to communicate with us. For any concerns or questions please contact our assistant manager, Dan Hilton, at dan.hiltonislandseafarms.com, or our manager Ron Francis at ron.francisislandseafarms.com.