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NEWS: Wakefield highway dynamiting sends rock through roof

Outside the courtroom after the ruling against us, February 2012.

CBC reports, “A man living on Highway 105 near Wakefield said he believes he and his neighbours are at risk after nearby blasting crews sent a bowling-ball-sized rock crashing into his home. The rock came down on Sasha Chichagov’s home, smashing through his eavestrough and leaving a sizeable dent in the ground. The rock appears to have come as a result of the dynamiting of the nearby mountain where crews are working to extend Highway 5. …He said his 14-year-old daughter is now scared to stay in the home.”

In late-February, there were also reports that a construction company bulldozer almost drove over a nearby well – stopped only by local residents shouting at the driver – and that the equipment clearcutting the forest in that area had accidentally knocked down a nearby power transmission line.

The Council of Canadians
We have highlighted that the highway design being pursued requires the blasting of rock in a water recharge area where many trees are also being cut down. The blasting has led to concerns that the Valley Drive Spring, a popular water source in Wakefield accessed by thousands of people, could be contaminated. The provincial environmental assessment conducted more than 25 years ago did not look at the hydrological aspects of the highway expansion. A preliminary Transport Canada assessment determined the project could contaminate the local aquifer.

On February 28, we joined with the local A5X group in court to try to win a ruling to allow a protest camp to continue in the area, but unfortunately we lost that fight, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=13783. One year earlier, on February 20, 2011, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow spoke at a fundraiser for SOS Wakefield at the popular Black Sheep Inn, packed-full with more than 150 people (including staff members Emma Lui, Jan Malek, and Melissa Dick, as well as several Ottawa chapter activists). The West Quebec Post reported, “In her remarks, Barlow addressed the Wakefield Spring struggle as part of a larger fight for ‘global water justice’. ‘You’, she told the audience, ‘are stewards of the water, water warriors’.” The Council of Canadians continues to support local efforts to protect the area’s water sources, minimize the ongoing damage to the local ecosystem, and for a safer new highway design. For numerous campaign blogs on this issue, please go to http://canadians.org/blog/?s=wakefield+5.

Make a comment!
To have your say on this news on the CBC webpage, go to http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/story/2012/05/03/ottawa-wakefield-explosion-rock-hiots-house.html and scroll below the ‘Wakefield highway dynamiting sends rock into roof’ article to the ‘Comments’ section.