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Municipality asks the minister of environment to ‘get involved’

The municipality of Chatham-Kent has reached out to the minister of environment and climate change in regards to local water wells.

During a council meeting Monday night, Councillor Jeff Wesley read out a letter sent from Mayor Randy Hope to Minister Glen Murray.

Councillor Jeff Wesley was originally set to bring a motion to council Monday night to send the letter, but seeing as it had already gotten support from the mayor and MPP Monte McNaughton, the letter was sent on April 20 instead.

“We’re basically asking the minister of environment to get involved,” he says. “They need to get down here because they’re the expertise and they also have the accountability and responsibility to these local water well owners. We need to get rid of this uncertainty and confusion.”

Chatham-Kent residents have expressed concerns regarding the impact wind turbines may have on the aquifer and water wells. An advocate group called Water Wells First has made several claims that the construction and operation of wind turbines has created murky – and in some cases black well water.

These claims have spurred wind companies to run tests but the validity of those tests were questioned by the group. As a result, residents have paid for private testing to be done.

Wesley says there’s some confusion regarding what tests should be done and to what extent, how tests should be conducted, and who should pay for those tests.

“Some of the local water well owners are being charged for the testing – I don’t think [anybody] should be paying for any tests for their water wells,” he says. “Their water wells have been good for 50 years [so] why should they bear the brunt of the cost?”

Wesley says he’s hoping the minister will hold a public meeting in Chatham-Kent where everyone from the wind developers to local residents can meet, and get some clarification to these issues.