Council of Canadians says wind developer poised to sue
The Council of Canadians says the owner of North Kent Wind is poised to lower the legal boom on local protesters, but the wind developer counters it has no plans to sue.
The social action organization issued a media release Wednesday condemning North Kent Wind’s owners, Korean industrial giant Samsung and its American partner Pattern Energy, for filing a “million-dollar-plus” statement of claim against Water Wells First spokesperson Kevin Jakubec and First Nations member Cindy Soney, along with unnamed other persons, for their participation in an 11-day blockade at a turbine construction site in late August. The blockade was a response to the impacts on water wells that occurred shortly after pile-driving activities took place in the Chatham Township area.
A statement of claim is a legal document containing allegations not yet tested in court.
The Daily News contacted the wind developer about this matter and received this statement: “North Kent Wind does not intend to sue anyone to recover the financial losses it has incurred due to the blockade. We have not begun any legal action and it is not our intention to pursue any further legal action at this time.
“We are focused on bringing a new source of clean energy to the local area, which is creating jobs and will bring substantial economic benefits to the Municipality of Chatham-Kent.”
A copy of the statement of claim The Council of Canadians sent to The Daily News on Wednesday, dated Sept. 1, doesn’t specifically state the company is seeking monetary damages. It primarily focuses on seeking an injunction to prevent “unlawful” protests and blockades at any of the project’s 34 turbine construction sites.
This injunction was granted to North Kent Wind in a court ruling on Oct. 2.
The statement of claim does note construction delays caused by the blockade and delays experienced at other sites “amounts to costs ranging from $50,000 to $100,000 per day, covering only the current amount of labour and equipment idle.”
Mark Calzavara, Council of Canadians Ontario organizer, told The Daily News the baseline studies done by well owners can prove “unequivocally” that their water was fine before construction began on the wind farm. He added it puts landowners “in great shape to eventually force the company to give them compensation.”
But that could take several years, he said.
Jakubec said it was a necessary administrative step for North Kent Wind to file a statement of claim on Oct. 2, after the injunction was granted, but the company has not served it yet.
He said the ruling for the injunction included “irreparable harm status to Samsung.
“The gun is cocked and loaded,” Jakubec added. “If they want to pull the trigger, then they would serve it.”
He said, “the whole issue here is Samsung saying they’re the victim. We’re the victims.”