Chatham-Kent politicians are calling on the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to stop construction of a wind development near Dresden and step up to the plate and work with rural residents worried about their well water.
The group Water Wells First has been voicing concerns for over a year about the possibility wind turbine construction in North Kent could cause damage to water wells. The community is served by one aquifer that is surrounded by shale. The group worries pile driving and the ongoing vibrations from the turbines will cause fragments of the shale to break off and end up in their water.
So far, five well owners have reported problems since Pattern Development and Samsung began construction on the North Kent One project.
After residents blocked the access to three turbine sites Thursday, Chatham-Kent Mayor Randy Hope raised his concerns with the Minister of the Environment in a letter calling on the MOECC to act. “We have people raising concerns and we have developers. Someone has to answer to this,” says Hope.
The letter rattled some chains in Toronto and now he, the Medical Officer of Health and some members of council will meet with ministry officials Thursday. And they’re going with a big stick. Monday, Wallaceburg Councillor Jeff Wesley convinced councillors to call for a halt of the project until the MOECC acted.
He wants an independent investigator, paid by the MOECC, to be on site to deal with any water well issues. “When someone has a problem with their well, that’s an emergency,” he says adding they should see an official “within an hour.”
Wesley adds the project shouldn’t move forward “until we figure out what is going on.
“Now that there is at least five wells that seem to be affected, people are saying maybe there is something going on here; before, all the experts were arguing about whether there would be impacts.”
Council agreed with Wesley’s “big stick” stand with the exception of Mayor Hope, who voted against the idea of halting Pattern Development and Samsung’s project while the investigation took place.
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