Chatham-Kent council has decided to plead with the provincial government to halt wind turbine construction until water well issues have been fully investigated.
Water Wells First, an activist group in Chatham-Kent, took actions last week by putting up barricades at three wind turbine construction sites just north of Chatham. The group began to ramp up their protests amid allegations that the pile driving and wind turbine construction for the North Kent Wind project are contaminating well water for residents in the area.
This prompted a motion by Councillor Jeff Wesley, which was ultimately passed in its entirety at Monday night’s council meeting.
The first part of the motion requires council to ask the government to halt wind turbine construction. Other parts of the motion include requesting that the Ministry of Environment hire and pay for a neutral third party expert to test the wells. It is also a priority for the municipality to identify well performance standards.
The municipality will also be attending a meeting with the ministry to discuss solutions, and will have to foot the bill for the inspections of five wells currently experiencing problems.
Councillor Derek Robertson voiced concerns about the use of the word “halt.”
“We need good data to determine what the root cause is and we can’t just simply accept that it’s any one given criteria until the data is delivered to us. I struggle with halting because I believe the halt in and of itself can skew that data,” explains Robertson.
Robertson adds that he thinks Councillor Wesley’s motion was a “very responsible motion” for the benefit of citizens in the municipality dealing with contaminated water. He says his primary concern is to make “good sound decisions based upon data, not perception.”
Wesley argues that asking for a halt to construction will only accelerate the response to the issue.
The municipality has already scheduled a meeting with the Ministry of Environment for Thursday.
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