Underlying all of the discussion regarding potential ground water problems and wind turbines the real issue is one of trust and representation.
The hundreds of local citizens who turned out to a Water Wells First meeting at Country View Golf Course last week simply don’t believe anyone is looking out for their interests.
That lack of trust breeds fear and anger and although there were some of both on display, the meeting stayed remarkably on point.
The leader of Water Wells First, Kevin Jakubec, has won the right to place an appeal before the Environmental Review Tribunal in an attempt to have the North Kent wind project permit re-opened.
All he needs is an estimated $200,000 to do so.
It’s both admirable and ridiculous that this group should have to go to such lengths to protect well water when the governments representing them do not.
It is clearly the province’s responsibility to ensure that no harm comes to wells due to wind farms.
That it failed in Dover Twp. is as undisputable as the dirty water and sand-filled wells being experienced by residence.
The province should be bending over backwards to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen in the future by – at its own expense or that of the wind farms – testing each well and supplying that information to landowners.
Secondly, now that the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change recognized that vibration could cause water problems – it should prepare plans to address that issue at no cost to landowners.
In both cases, Chatham-Kent council should be demanding the same.
Being a willing host to wind farms does not mean forfeiting the water quality of wells serving thousands of acres.
If wind farms can’t be located in certain geological conditions, that should be the end of the discussion.
If special measures are needed to allow the projects to proceed, then put them in place.
In its zeal to embrace the Green Energy Act, the province cannot be so short-sighted as to perhaps permanently disrupt water to local residents any more than council can justify looking the other way in return for bags of money.