Trucks blocked at Wakefield sand pit protest

Wakefield, Que., residents are protesting a construction company's unauthorized use of a sand pit near the Autoroute 5 extension.

Wakefield, Que., residents are protesting a construction company's unauthorized use of a sand pit near the Autoroute 5 extension.

Protesters said the digging and dumping of sand and clay at the pit — at Highway 105 and Rockhurst Road — could damage an underground aquifer that supplies Wakefield's well on Valley Drive, and could also damage a nearby cemetery.

About a dozen protesters began blocking dump trucks from entering the pit at about 8:30 a.m. and they plan to return to the site Thursday morning.

The Ministry of Environment ordered a work stoppage last month and sent two violation notices to Couillard Construction.

Mayor says work stoppage not enforced

But La Pêche Mayor Robert Bussière told CBC News the ministry isn't enforcing the stoppage.

"They have the total responsiblity, so I don't understand why they're not doing their job," he said. "I'm frustrated because we're going to have to do their job.

The ministry said it is now in talks with the Ministry of Transport to keep workers away from the pit.

Laurie Gough, who runs a protest group in Wakefield, said the work is damaging a natural filtration system.

"It's so scary because this is all our fears finally coming to pass," Gough said.

"We have been trying to protect the Wakefield spring for two years now, ever since we first saw the construction design of the highway. And here they're right over the actual wetland that feeds the spring and they're taking out all the sand, which is a filtration system for the spring. If they remove that, the spring is probably kaput."