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Access row won’t stop Aqua Nor, pledges organiser

Visitors queue to enter Aqua Nor in 2015. The venue has been demolished and rebuilt since the last event in 2017. Photo: Aqua Nor.
Visitors queue to enter Aqua Nor in 2015. The venue has been demolished and rebuilt since the last event in 2017. Photo: Aqua Nor.

The organiser of the world’s biggest salmon farming equipment and technology trade fair, AquaNor, has issued a statement reassuring exhibitors and visitors that the event will go ahead as planned in Trondheim in August.

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There were reports in the Norwegian press this week that members of the Conservative Party (Trondheim Right) sitting on the city’s Building Council were intending to block a dispensation related to vehicle access to the newly-constructed Trondheim Spektrum arena because of concerns over the access and impact on local residents.

But today Liv Holmefjord, chair of the board of the Nor-Fishing Foundation, which organises AquaNor, emphasised that the trade fair will be held as planned.

Liv Holmefjord:
Liv Holmefjord: "Nothing to indicate that Aqua Nor will not go as planned."

All the necessary permits

“As organiser of the exhibition we have an agreement with Trondheim Spektrum to hold the event in their facilities. Trondheim Spektrum has confirmed that they have all the necessary permits and dispensations for a successful organisation of the event,” said Holmefjord in an update on an earlier statement.

The Nor-Fishing Foundation said it felt the need to clarify this because of some press articles which in recent days had given the impression that there were uncertainties related to the implementation of Aqua Nor 2019.

“There is nothing to indicate that Aqua Nor will not go as planned,” added Holmefjord.

‘No plans to cancel’

A statement from Morten Wolden, chief executive of Trondheim Municipality, also sought to reassure visitors to the event.

“In a news article in Fiskeribladet on Wednesday, May 15, it is stated in both title and text that this year’s Aqua Nor exhibition in Trondheim Spektrum may be cancelled. The Municipality of Trondheim wants to emphasise that this is not the case. Aqua Nor will be arranged as planned from 20 - 23 August this year, and there are no plans to move or cancel the event.

“It is correct, however, that there are traffic challenges in connection with upgrading of road and other infrastructure that takes place in parallel with the development of the new Trondheim Spektrum. Trondheim municipality and its partners have always been aware of this. Both before and during the entire construction process, measures have been put in place that will limit these disadvantages and the danger to residents and others travelling in the area. These measures will, of course, be maintained and possibly adjusted as needed, as long as it is considered necessary.

“The Chief Executive Officer assures that Trondheim municipality and its partners will take the necessary measures to ensure that this year’s Aqua Nor exhibition will take place in traffic-safe conditions.”

Tore O. Sandvik: AquaNor makes Trondheim
Tore O. Sandvik: AquaNor makes Trondheim "the centre of gravity in aquaculture".

‘Shock and almost disbelief’

Elections are due in Trondheim shortly, which may explain some of the political sabre-rattling.

Earlier this week county mayor Tore O. Sandvik, a member of the centre-left Ap (Arbeiderpartiet or Labour Party), told Fish Farming Expert’s Norwegian sister site, Kyst.no: “It is with shock and almost disbelief that I observe that Trondheim Right intends to stop this year’s fishing fair, which this year is AquaNor.

“AquaNor and Nor-Fishing make Trondheim and Trøndelag the centre of gravity in aquaculture and technology related to fishing. These meeting places are very important for the industries, NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) and (research organisation) SINTEF.

“Trondheim Right has marked itself by being against most things in recent years, it is more difficult to see what they are for. For Trondheim and Trøndelag there will be a strong shot across the bow if we lose these fairs. We have ambitions in aquaculture and almost complete value chains with producers, suppliers, R&D, finance, technology and management related to the aquaculture industries, but to chase away AquaNor will put us back strongly.”

He pointed out that there have been several overtures from elsewhere to take over these very attractive exhibitions.

“So, if Trondheim were to stop this year’s Aqua Nor, the road will be short to Western Norway or Eastern Norway or, at worst, out of the country.”

Ingrid Skjøtskift:
Ingrid Skjøtskift: "No lack of warnings" about traffic issues.

Only one road

Trondheim Right’s group leader, Ingrid Skjøtskift, responded by stating: “There was no lack of warnings when Ap pushed through the plans for development on Nidarø, where Trondheim Spektrum is located. The warnings were not least related to the access. Only one road goes to Trondheim Spectrum, then to a narrow cul-de-sac. Many pointed out that this was irresponsible.

“The answer was to make provisions in the zoning plan to ensure an access that is justifiable for larger transport, emergency vehicles and buses, as well as pedestrians and cyclists. You have not finished this work. It shouldn’t surprise anyone. Right and many others warned against this. Several construction works at the same time plus archaeological excavations in the middle of the construction of Trondheim Spektrum would naturally cause problems.

“But Ap refused to take this into account. It was more important to push through the development than to take the time to consider other options. This process has now put developers and organisers in trouble.

“It is entirely Ap’s responsibility.”

An illustration of the new Nidaroe Hall at Trondheim Spektrum. Image: Inbovi AS.
An illustration of the new Nidaroe Hall at Trondheim Spektrum. Image: Inbovi AS.
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