CANSO: A public meeting is set to discuss a potential rocket launch site in the area.

Maritime Launch Services (MLS) is gearing up for an open house set for October 12 at the Canso Fire Hall between 2-6 p.m. Last March, MLS selected Canso as the site of a rocket launch base after looking at several communities in North America.

MLS president Steve Matier said the meeting is part of the environmental review process required by the Nova Scotia Department of Environment.

“They’ve been taking field data out there since February, looking for moose, checking fauna, measuring wetlands and migrations of birds in the various seasons and stuff,” he said. “You basically want to tell people what kind of environmental effects [are possible], what the environmental collection is, and to collect [the public’s] input.”

Matier said the company wants to learn the public’s areas of concern and what they want to learn more about.

A release from the company states environmental assessment seasonal data collection and a Mi’kmaq Ecological Knowledge Study (MEKS) are underway, as well as continued seasonal field data collection. The release also states the MLS continues to finalize the layout of the launch site to meet safety requirements, while working with various levels of government.

MLS also confirmed nearly  $400 million in commitments from satellite clients to fill the payload capacity of 3,350 kilograms, and MLS signed a memorandum of cooperation with Yuzhnoye State Design Office and Yuzhmash Production Plant from Ukraine to deliver a Cyclone 4M rocket for the launch complex. The release went on to note MLS selected Lindsay Construction as the construction management firm for the project.

“The timeline is remaining the same,” Matier said. “We are hoping to get all the provincial regulatory documentation, the Environmental Assessment report, submitted by the end of December, and it goes into its review cycle. If they approve them within the normal timeframe, we would still hope for a construction start in the spring but again it’s got to come with those approvals and permits.”

Matier previously said the Canso site initially looked good on paper, which led to a site visit in April of 2016 and a follow up in November, 2016. MLS then hosted an open house at the Canso-Hazel Hill Fire Hall in January, 2017, after speaking to various bodies such as Department of Natural Resources.