Some councillors “fed up and frustrated” over water well problems experienced by some residents living near wind turbine construction will call on Chatham-Kent council on Monday to take action.
Wallaceburg Coun. Jeff Wesley, who is drafting the motion, said it will include calling for halting construction of the North Kent Wind project if there isn’t enough progress on the issue by the Sept. 11 council meeting.
“There’s no second chances on this stuff,” he said.
Five water wells in the North Kent Wind project area, currently under construction in Chatham Township, have recently been clogged with sediments shortly after pile driving took place for constructing industrial wind turbines.
Concerns have been raised about the potential danger if the sediments are from the Kettle Point black shale bedrock formation in the area, known to contain heavy metals such as arsenic, uranium and lead.
“One of the things I’ve been disappointed in, I think the wind turbine companies and the Ministry of the Environment have been far too slow to respond,” Wesley said.
He added, “whether it’s one well owner or it’s five, the people who have water wells out there and are having difficulties, they need to have prompt, quick response on identifying what the issue is, what the cause of it is, and getting a resolution out there.”
Wesley said the motion will be seeking council’s support to make sure there is a quick response when there is an issue with water wells.
“I think there has to be a resident water well expert located here in Chatham-Kent . . . with 24/7 ability for people to contact,” the councillor said.
He added it has to be paid for by the ministry.
“When we start having problem like this, a water-testing company paid for by the wind turbines companies, I’m sorry, just doesn’t cut it,” Wesley said.
North Kent Coun. Joe Faas said based on what has been happening with water wells in the area where this wind farm is being constructed, “it seems to be more than a co-incidence.”
He added, “if it is the wind mills that are causing the problem, then the company and MOE need to come to the plate and sort this thing out somehow.”
Noting the province’s Green Energy Act has removed nearly any municipal authority with regards to wind farms, Faas said council is still on the front line for residents and must be visible on this issue.
North Kent Coun. Leon Leclair showed up a media conference Thursday at the home of Wayne and Valerie Brooksbank, who have experienced problems with their wells.
Leclair said some councillors have been working to address the issue.
“We’re here to push for a resolve in the water well issues caused by the wind mill construction,” he told some area residents in attendance who have experienced problems with their wells after pile driving began near their properties.
Just like residents, Wesley said he wants to have answers about what’s been happening to water wells that are clogging up with sediments.
“What is it? Is it related to turbine construction? What’s going on? We need to understand that,” he said.
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