Maude Barlow and SOS Wakefield chair Peter Andrée.
The persistence of a local group has resulted in an injunction hearing against a highway construction company damaging a critical aquifer. The Ottawa Citizen reports, “After months of protest against excavation at a site in Wakefield said to be a main source for a local spring, an environmental group is applauding the provincial government for (finally!) filing an injunction against the construction company. Quebec’s ministry of environment, parks and sustainable development filed the injunction Friday after Couillard Construction defied a stop-work order issued on May 10. …Couillard Construction has been removing sand from a pit on Rockhurst Road and filling it with clay as part of the controversial A5 highway extension — a four-lane highway from Chelsea to Farm Point. The massive highway project, funded in part by (Harper government) stimulus dollars, has also been criticized for harming old-growth forests in Gatineau Park. …The matter has been put on hold until it can be heard in court Tuesday in Montreal, according to members of Wakefield SOS. …’We are happy to know that our concerns around the illegal exploitation of the Rockhurst sandpit in Wakefield, and the potential risks it poses for 5,000 users of the Wakefield Spring, have finally been heard at the highest levels in the Ministry of the Environment,’ said SOS Wakefield chair Peter Andrée… SOS Wakefield said it hopes the court will impose an immediate injunction to stop the removal of sand and dumping of clay at the Rockhurst sandpit. The group is calling for a ‘full hydrogeological study of potential impacts’ on the Wakefield Spring.” While this long-delayed move by the provincial government comes after much damage has already been done at the site and is likely motivated by their need to boost their popularity ahead of the September 4 general election they are expected to lose, hopefully this injunction will move forward. The SOS Wakefield media release is at http://www.soswakefield.ca/index.html; the Ottawa Citizen article is at http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Quebec+government+files+injunction+stop+controversial/7176422/story.html; and a blog I wrote on the overall situation can be read at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=16180. In an August 22 update, SOS Wakefield wrote, “We’ve raised enough money to pay for our recent campaigning costs, including the lawyer’s fees, so thank you! Thanks especially to the Council of Canadians for their ongoing support, both financial and moral.”