The citizen group Water Wells First has a new leader and voice to carry forward their concerns about the impact a wind farm has had on private water wells in the area.
Kevin Jakubec issued a media release Tuesday stating he is leaving the group to spend more time with his family and to announce Jessica Brooks will be the new leader.
Brooks told The Chatham Daily News that Jakubec is “getting run down” from working on this issue and wants to focus more on research.
Water Wells First sprung up about three years ago when some residents in the North Kent Wind project area began noticing their water wells were starting to clog with sediment after pile driving activities began to erect industrial wind turbines.
Jakubec and other members began raising the alarm that pile driving into the Kettle Point black shale geology in the area was releasing the sediments that were clogging the wells. It was also noted this black shale contains harmful metals such as arsenic and lead.
Although Jakubec is knowledgeable about the issue, he was also a polarizing figure who became embroiled in controversy during his time leading Water Wells First.
Jakubec was successfully sued for defamation by former Wallaceburg Coun. Jeff Wesley for comments he made about the long-time politician relating to this issue.
He also publicly criticized other local municipal and provincial politicians regarding this issue, even after they offered to try to help.
Jakubec represented the group in court, when Water Wells First was ordered in October 2017 to cease blockading turbine construction sites.
“I appreciate everything Kevin has done,” Brooks said.
She said if wasn’t for Jakubec, she and her husband probably would have remortgaged their home to dig another well and still had the same problem and no clue what was going on.
Citing her experience with public relations in her job, Brooks said, “I’m pretty good at making my point without upsetting too many people.”
Noting she has been a “poster child” for the problems several landowners have experienced with their wells, Brooks said becoming the group’s leader “seems like a natural step.”
She said her family continues to rely on a bypass tank that is filled weekly with municipal water that is hauled to their home by her husband Paul.
“We don’t want municipal water,” Brooks said.
She is concerned about microplastics, pharmaceutical and algae that has been getting into municipal water systems.
“I want my well back, at least I knew the water was safe, except for the black shale,” she said.
As for moving forward, she doesn’t believe the group can take on the owners of the wind farm – Korean industrial giant Samsung and its American partner Pattern Energy.
Brooks said they need to focus on finding a solution with the government.
“Samsung was only allowed to do what our government allowed them to do, so, ultimately, our health and well-being is in the hands of our government officials.”
Brooks is disappointed the Progressive Conservative government only wants to review the data collected from the wind developer, not the sediments from local wells or the scientific research gathered by Water Wells First.
“We need that stuff tested,” she said. “What’s coming out of my water that wasn’t there before.”
Brooks said they need a toxicologist who can look at the water and determine if it is safe to drink.
“It seems pretty simple and why all levels of government keep dragging their feet on this, I don’t know.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding