Turbine company seeks injunction against water well activists citing 'safety risk'

Members of Water Wells First have blockaded the site on Bush Line in Chatham-Kent for days. Now North Kent Wind says the protests are a 'serious safety risk' to demonstrators and workers.

Water well advocates chained themselves to a tractor wheel weights and refused to leave

Protesters with Water Wells First chained themselves to tractor wheel weights outside the North Kent Wind project on Aug. 29, 2017. (Derek Spalding/CBC News)

North Kent Wind is seeking an injunction against water well advocates who have blockaded access to a turbine construction site in Chatham-Kent.

The company describes the protesters, who believe pile driving to build the massive wind towers is causing sediment to spoil their wells, as a "serious safety risk" both to themselves and workers at the site on Bush Line.

Members of the Water Wells First advocacy group have been demonstrating outside the turbine site for days. Three Chatham-Kent residents even chained themselves to a tractor wheel weights on Tuesday, saying they would have to be arrested before they would leave.

Protesters with Water Wells First staged a blockade of the North Kent Wind project on Aug. 29, 2017. (Derek Spalding/CBC News)

Chatham-Kent Mayor Randy Hope wrote to Minister of Environment Chris Ballard following one of the blockades, asking for an "immediate intervention" in the water quality issues due to "conflicting reports" on water quality that created "fear and concern among residents."

"The ministry cannot remain silent on this very important issue," the mayor added. "This is an extremely urgent matter which demands immediate, decisive action from your ministry and government."

On Monday, the municipality said it will contact affected residents in the bid to find a mutually acceptable water-testing lab. The municipality has identified 17 potential labs and said it will cover the cost of inspections on five wells currently experiencing problems.

Both the ministry and North Kent Wind maintain extensive vibration and water testing has been carried out throughout turbine construction and that water quality has not been harmed.

"We must provide a safe environment for our workers," the company wrote in a statement issued to announce it was seeking the injunction. "We understand there are concerns about groundwater and we are committed to working with the community."