Chatham-Kent’s legal counsel will attend an environmental review tribunal to raise citizens’ concerns about wind turbines and water wells.
Wallaceburg Coun. Jeff Wesley made the successful motion, which passed unanimously, during Monday’s meeting, noting that steps need to be taken to protect wells.
“At the end of the day, we need to do something,” he said.
Wesley’s motion came on the heels of an unsuccessful motion from Chatham Coun. Michael Bondy, who had asked council to petition the province for a moratorium on further wind turbine development in Chatham-Kent.
However, since it was a motion to reconsider, it required a two-thirds vote, which Bondy’s motion didn’t receive.
He had called for the moratorium remaining in effect until an environmental study is completed and an independent consultant determines further turbine development has “no appreciable negative effect on water wells.”
While Chatham-Kent is a willing host to wind turbines, the approval process for wind farms is done through the province’s Green Energy Act.
The Water Wells First citizen group is concerned the North Kent 1 Wind Project, which is slated to be built in Chatham Township, will have the same impact on ground water, because the area has same hydrogeology as Dover.
A large contingent from Water Wells First was in attendance on Monday, with several of them giving deputations earlier in the meeting.
Kevin Jakubec, spokesperson for the group, brought in glasses of water showing debris.
“They cannot afford to lose their water well,” he said. “They will face a decrease in their property value.”
He urged governments to look for solutions with the wind industry.
This summer, the group has held media events to demonstrate how they believe several proposed solutions are impractical for rural residents, such as the use of bottled water when there’s debris in the well water.
After the meeting, Wesley said he simply wants to see the well water issue addressed.
“There is something going on. I don’t know if it’s the wind turbines. I don’t know what it is,” he said. “But there’s definitely something going on with well water. If they don’t have water in their homes, they have nothing.
“I wanted to make sure there was at least something for them.”
The environmental review tribunal will begin Tuesday at the John D. Bradley Convention Centre at 10 a.m., which Wesley expects will be preliminary in nature.
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