The Council of Canadians has taken a call to action from a local protest group to stop wind turbine construction in Chatham-Kent.
Regional Organizer Mark Calzavara says Water Wells First contacted the organization in December of last year, asking for help to raise awareness about contaminated water wells in the municipality.
Water Wells First is an activist group in Chatham-Kent that claims pile driving from wind turbine construction in both Dover Township and North Kent has disturbed the Kettle Point black shale formation in the ground and caused several water wells to become contaminated. According to a report, there are now 13 well owners that have filed water well interference complaints following the start of construction for 34 turbines in June as part of the North Kent Wind Project.
Calzavara says the council agreed to provide advice to the activist group and spread the word to its 100,000 plus supporters across the country about “how irresponsible both Samsung and the Ontario government have been around protecting people’s water.”
“We support Water Wells First’s call for the construction to stop until the issue has been thoroughly investigated and the techniques change so that people’s well water is not affected,” he says. “We’re pro-wind as much as anybody else is, but if the project isn’t being done right and the government isn’t doing a good job at regulating it, then people have to step up and say ‘We want wind power, but not at any price.”
North Kent One Wind, which is owned by Samsung Energy and Pattern energy, recently sought a court injunction and an award of legal costs against Water Wells First, who had been blocking access to one of the 34 turbine construction sites.
Calzavara says protesting is an “absolutely legitimate thing” for Water Wells First to do.
“In this case, it’s especially important because the Ministry of Environment has not done their job. They refuse to do independent testing [and] they refuse to do anything other than accept the wind companies word on what’s going on,” says Calzavara.
Calzavara believes this won’t be a “one off thing” that will end with construction. He thinks the issue will be ongoing.
“There’s the immediate pile driving, which is causing this first round of issues for people in Chatham-Kent near the North Kent Wind Project. We fully expect that [if] those turbines get constructed and do start operating, they’re gonna be seeing the same problems that the people in Dover have,” he explains.
He says the water contamination is “very obviously” linked to wind turbine construction and operation and thinks the ministry should be doing more to help.
“The idea that the ministry is just standing back here and saying well we don’t see a cause and effect is ludicrous. They’re just not doing their job,” says Calzavara.
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