The owners of the North Kent Wind Farm project say that despite filing a statement of claim for damages due to a blockade at one of 34 turbine construction sites, they will not be suing Water Wells First members.
According to Matt Dallas, spokesperson for Pattern Energy, the company does not intend to pursue the claim “at this time.”
“North Kent Wind does not intend to sue anyone to recover the financial losses it has incurred due to the blockade. We have not begun any legal action and it is not our intention to pursue any further legal action at this time. We are focused on bringing a new source of clean energy to the local area, which is creating jobs and will bring substantial economic benefits to the Municipality of Chatham-Kent,” Dallas said in a statement.
The Council of Canadians, however, which is working with the members of Water Wells First, condemned Samsung and Pattern for even filing the potential million-dollar-plus statement of claim against Chatham area residents who blocked construction at one of 34 wind turbines the company is erecting as part of its North Kent One wind power project.
Many of the people who took part in the 11-day blockade have filed well interference complaints against the developer, citing the vibrations from the company’s pile driving activity as the cause of the sudden influx of black silt in their wells. At least 13 well interference complaints have been made since the company started pile driving for the turbine foundations last June.
According to the developer’s Statement of Claim filed in Superior Court, the impact of the construction delay caused by the blockade “amounts to costs ranging from $50,000 to $100,000 per day, covering only the current amount of labour and equipment idle.”
The Statement of Claim names Water Wells First spokesperson Kevin Jakubec and First Nations Head Crane Clan Mother Cindy Soney as defendants. It also includes “other individuals who have been involved in the unlawful conduct … who have not yet been identified and have been named as John Doe and Jane Doe.”
The well water on the Jakubec family’s farm became polluted with black silt shortly after pile driving began nearby.
“Our well water was crystal clear for decades before the pile driving started,” said Jakubec. “Now, Samsung is claiming that we damaged them to the tune of millions of dollars. I wonder how they sleep at night, because I sure can’t.”
“Million dollar lawsuits are usually meant to intimidate,” said Mark Calzavara, Ontario Organizer for The Council of Canadians. “But people don’t back down when it comes to protecting their water. The evidence clearly shows that the construction is causing the pollution. Samsung must stop this project now.”
He added the statement of claim gives the company the option of pursuing for damages at any time. The company may also try to use it as leverage to reduce compensation in any negotiations for interfering with the wells belonging to anyone that took part in the blockades.
Chatham-Kent CAO Don Shropshire said the municipality is “aware of the statement of claim but weren’t involved in it or in taking any action on the matter.”
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