Hearing mediation brings some good news

Oct 8 • Feature Story, Local NewsNo Comments on Hearing mediation brings some good news

wind turbines

Kevin Jakubec, the appellant in the cancelled Environmental Review Tribunal hearing into the North Kent One wind project, said he believed he had no choice but to abandon his appeal once the ERT refused to grant him an extension.

The hearing was cancelled last Wednesday followed by the appeal dismissal the following day.

Jakubec said he requested a 14-day extension to introduce expert evidence.

“There was no stepping back so I took a side step so we could move forward and take what we gained in mediation,” he said.

Under the terms of the mediation, property owners will be given baseline testing before the construction of any turbines and will receive groundwater and ground vibration monitoring in each of the first three years of operation.

Also part of the agreement is that the ground water community liaison committee will see the company’s contingency plan.

All costs for the above conditions is to be borne by Samsung and Pattern Development.

Jakubec was a key organizer of the grass-roots group Water Wells First but stepped aside when he became the sole appellant in the case.

The group had contended that vibration from turbine construction and operation endangers water well quality.

The ERT dismissed Jakubec request, saying it would put the length of the hearing past its six-month deadline. As well, the tribunal accepted the “uncontested expert evidence” of the North Kent Wind witness, Storer Boone of Golder Assoc. Ltd. that turbines wouldn’t affect water quality.

Chatham-Kent officials cited that document as “a compelling multi-disciplinary report that cannot be ignored.”

C-K Chief Legal Officer John Norton said the report, dated Sept. 16, “indicates that ground vibrations generated during construction and subsequent turbine operation on well water conditions is likely to be insignificant and will not influence the rate of radon within the groundwater.”

Mayor Randy Hope said in a press release, “We insisted on evidence. Now that we have the evidence, we are satisfied that this appeal has been withdrawn.”

Mike deBakker, speaking on behalf of Water Wells First, said in a release he wants to see a copy of the Golder report.

deBakker, however, wants to see the report for independent scientific review, and said he disagrees with the municipality’s assertion that ground-vibration impact is “likely to be insignificant.”

“If this statement were true, why did the Ministry of the Environment (MOECC) release on June 29, the North Kent One wind farm REA permit with Section H – Ground-Bourne Vibration Monitoring Conditions,” deBakker said. “If would appear the MOECC knows more than Mr. Norton and Mayor Hope, and clearly the MOECC would not solely rely upon one document as the municipality wishes to.”

The families in Dover Township with contaminated wells, deBakker added, need the explanation for why their wells became damaged after wind turbine foundation construction.

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