Injunction Being Sought To Stop Water Wells First Protest

Peaceful Water Wells First protests continue north of Chatham. Aug 21, 2017. (Photo by Paul Pedro)

North Kent Wind is seeking an injunction against protesters at its wind turbine site on Bush Line in Chatham-Kent.

The wind developer says unlawful activity is presenting a serious safety risk to the protesters and the workers on site.

Water Wells First, an activist group in Chatham-Kent, has demanded action from the municipality and the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, claiming that pile driving and wind turbine construction for the North Kent Wind project are contaminating well water for residents in the area.

The group has staged various protests at the Bush Line location, and says they intend to continue protest indefinitely.

“We know water quality issues can be stressful for well owners and their families, and we are committed to continue working with well owners, the [ministry], and the municipality as construction progresses,” says North Kent Wind in a news release. “We will continue to investigate any water quality complaints we receive either directly from the affected landowner or from the MOECC promptly and will continue to be transparent with the results of the analyses.”

Pattern Energy spokesperson Matt Dallas says the company understands there are concerns about groundwater and it’s committed to working with the community.

He says the company has hired qualified experts that have conducted testing at the project site and confirmed that the construction of the turbines hasn’t harmed groundwater quality. The reports are available on North Kent Wind’s website.

In the meantime, the Municipality of Chatham-Kent recently passed a motion to request that the provincial government halt wind turbine construction until water well issues have been fully investigated. That request is still before the premier’s office.

Despite the water tests conducted by experts hired by Pattern Energy, the municipality is moving forward with a plan to allow local residents experiencing well water issues to choose one of 17 licensed and accredited labs to test their drinking water.

To date, North Kent Wind has received five complaints about well water contamination.