A Norway-based aquaculture company will soon decide whether to pursue a project on Humboldt Bay’s former pulp mill site and its interest has highlighted the economic potential of the Samoa Peninsula.
At its Aug. 3 meeting, Humboldt County’s Board of Supervisors was updated on the project and its infrastructure-related challenges. The company, Nordic Aquafarms, entered a lease with the Harbor District, which owns the project site, but now has doubts due to the need to upgrade freshwater delivery infrastructure and the more expensive proposition of removing turbidity.
Economic Development Director Scott Adair came to the meeting with good news – a federal funding source will pay 80 percent of the $3 million cost of improving the delivery infrastructure.
Water infrastructure isn’t the only utility concern on the Samoa Peninsula. Roads, bridges and broadband telecommunications infrastructure also need improvement or development and supervisors discussed forming a multi-jurisdictional Joint Powers Authority to handle it.
The Nordic project represents an initial $400 million investment and the creation of 100 primary and ancillary jobs. The site’s zoning includes aquaculture and the county is keen on promoting new industry.
But a letter of support for the project wasn’t approved without discussion and some debate. The letter is important to Nordic’s board of investors, which will decide on whether or not to go forward with the project on Sept. 15.