Water advocates plan feast at turbine site after work temporarily halted
Blockade will come down about 4 p.m. Friday
Members of Water Wells First are planning to hold a feast outside the turbine construction site they've blockaded for the past 10 days.
- Turbine company seeks injunction against water well activists citing 'safety risk'
- Frustrated Chatham-Kent residents stage blockade at wind turbine site
The meal is to celebrate a court-ordered temporary work stoppage at the Bush Line location while Pattern Energy, the company behind the North Kent wind project, seeks an injunction to stop the protests they believe were causing "serious safety concerns."
Water advocates say turbines are ruining wells
Protesters have been calling for an investigation into pile driving work they allege is causing sediment to leach into their drinking water. They say at least 10 wells have been damaged so far, but the company and provincial government maintain proper water and vibration testing has been ongoing during construction and that the water does not show signs of contamination.
The blockade was recently joined by members of local Indigenous groups, and Kevin Jakubec, spokesperson for the water activist group, said both parties will be taking part in the banquet Friday before dismantling their blockade by 4 p.m.
"Both our peoples will come together and celebrate that there are people in our communities who will stand up for water ... it's almost like a Thanksgiving feast," he said.
Pattern spokesperson Matt Dallas issued a statement Thursday confirming the company had agreed to temporarily suspend work at the site. In return, the protesters will have to leave their posts.
"The Court has otherwise granted an interim order restraining and preventing anyone from blockading, obstructing, or impeding access to any of the construction sites for the project," he said.
Court date at the end of September
Both parties will be back in court to speak to the request for an injunction on September 28 and 29.
Jakubec said Water Wells First is planning to continue other types of protests near turbine sites in Chatham-Kent, including handing out information pamphlets.
"We're feeling positive and upbeat," he added. "We were very successful in attracting a new friend and a new ally ... and we now have a stronger voice."