Local activist group Water Wells First will continue to oppose the construction and operation of wind turbines in Chatham-Kent until issues in Dover Township are resolved.
Concerns had been raised when Dover residents started claiming that the vibrations made by wind turbines had impacted their wells, resulting in turbid well water.
In an effort to prevent this from happening in other areas in the municipality, spokesperson for the group Kevin Jakubec made an appeal against the North Kent Wind project.
An Environmental Tribunal hearing had been scheduled to take place last week, but it had been called off when Jakubec withdrew his appeal.
Now that Jakubec has been given the go-ahead from his lawyer, he is speaking out about why he formally backed out of the tribunal hearing.
Jakubec says he decided to drop the appeal because the company behind the North Kent Wind Project had agreed to make improvements to its Renewable Energy Approval (REA) Permit during mediation. Another major factor was the refusal to give him a two-week extension in order to gather more information.
“The decision to take those improvements and then to exit was really based on not being granted the 14-day extension by the tribunal,” says Jakubec. “That would have allowed us to obtain key evidence and present it to the tribunal panel.”
Jakubec says the improvements to the the REA permit had been agreed to by all parties in the mediation session.
It was agreed that residents living in the North Kent area (where the wind turbines would be constructed) would not be under any confidentiality agreement. So, if any issues were to arise, they would not be under a gag order.
Should there be any complaints, the wind company will now have to come up with a contingency plan to resolve any impact to wells – at the company’s expense.
It was also agreed that in addition to tests being conducted on well water prior to construction, ground vibrations would be monitored more frequently.
“Now that’s very significant because that recognizes there’s a vulnerability to the aquifer,” says Jakubec.
Although he has formally withdrawn his appeal for the tribunal hearing, Jakubec says he is standing firm with his original claims.
“Before one more pile is driven into the aquifer we need to understand what happened in Dover and I have not changed that position at all,” he says.
Moving forward, Jakubec says the group will be pulling their resources together to conduct a toxicity study by a recognized toxicologist and have the research published in a peer reviewed medical journal.
Jakubec says he is aware there is some confusion surrounding the matter, so Water Wells First will be holding a public meeting at the Country View Golf Course on October 13 at 7pm to clear things up.