Southwestern Resources Canada may not be well received when it begins seismic testing for shale gas in Kent County this spring, says one area mayor.
"Well he just has to drive along the road, or the streets and there's signs everywhere — no fracking, no fracking, no fracking," said Saint-Louis-de-Kent Mayor Louis Arsenault.
"People are afraid it's going to mess up their well water."
The issue will be on the agenda when the francophone municipalities of New Brunswick meet later this month, Arsenault said.
A company official called the area mayors late last week to tell them workers would soon be in the area.
Testing will be carried out on private properties for two or three months, with the permission of the owners.
"I was surprised that it was this early because I thought it was kind of on the shelf for a couple of years," said Arsenault.
"But maybe they won't find any and they'll leave us alone."
Hydraulic fracturing, also known as hydro-fracking, is a process where exploration companies inject a mixture of water, sand and chemicals into the ground, creating cracks in shale rock formations to extract natural gas from areas that would otherwise go untapped.
Opponents are concerned the process will ruin the water supply.
Tom Alexander, SWN’s general manager for New Brunswick, said he wanted to let the mayors know what's happening in case they get questions from residents.
"I told the mayors that that there won't be any fracking concerned with our work in Kent County," he said.
"This is very benign work. There's not going to be any harm to anyone's water wells or homes."
Alexander said he hopes things go smoothly this time.
"Will there be people out there that are going to try and chop up equipment and steal copper and things of that nature, perhaps I think there was perhaps a lot of lessons learned last summer. So I hope that there will be only lawful protests this year," he said.
SWN has no plans to do any testing inside the limits of any of the communities, Alexander has said.
If that changes the company will have to appear before village or town council to get permission, he said