QUEEN’S PARK – This morning Essex NDP MPP Taras Natyshak joined with the Council of Canadians and Chatham Kent organization Water Wells First at Queen’s Park to again call for an immediate Health Hazard Investigation at farms located near Samsung’s North Kent One wind turbine site.
Local farm families who have been dealing with the black well water were also in attendance to share how this has affected them and their businesses.
“I have seen this black water come directly out of a well on one of these farms – there’s just no way it’s safe to drink,” said Natyshak – who recently toured some of the farms affected and saw for himself the poor quality of the water coming out of the wells.
“18 families in the area all experienced the change in their water quality around the time that pile driving for Samsung’s site began. It’s not a coincidence, as the Liberals would have these families believe. Kathleen Wynne has a responsibility to make sure that the people of this province have clean drinking water – but instead, she has completely denied that there is a problem here.”
Local residents have had the black water collected and analyzed by scientific experts who have found the water contains Black Shale sediment. Black Shale is a known environmental hazard because it contains heavy metals, yet residents have had trouble getting the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change to take the issue seriously. Natyshak has had reports that farmers are so reluctant to use this contaminated water that some are feeding their livestock bottled water instead.
“This is a problem that is actually getting worse, not better. Some of these wells became black during the construction phase, and Samsung provided temporary water sources for the families who couldn’t drink the water, but now that construction has stopped and the operation of the site has begun, more families are reporting black wells and this time, Samsung won’t provide them with temporary water,” said Natyshak. “These families are frustrated, they feel let down and they are worried about the future – how can they operate their farms with no drinkable water?”
The Ontario NDP has committed to developing an Ontario Water Strategy if elected in June. Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath said the strategy will be based on the principle that the public should have access to clean water for drinking, sanitation and food.
“We need more than a government that is ‘monitoring’ the situation. We need a government that is looking out for families, and in Chatham Kent right now, that means we need a government that will do this health hazard investigation immediately,” said Natyshak.