Whenever I think of Chelsea’s mad rush toward municipal water and sewer, suburbanization, and huge new debt, I think of the old movie cartoons where two little guys are racing toward the edge of a cliff, their little feet spinning madly like wheels – something unexpected stops them just in time.
Likewise, we still have a way to stop our current rush over the cliff – the Nov. 3 municipal election.
We have been told that we must have municipal water and sewer and huge new debt because Chelsea is running out of water. Yet, we haven’t seen evidence to back up this claim.
Chelsea has had only one public hydrogeological survey; it was done by Golder and Associates in 1990.
The Golder report recommended minimum lot sizes by areas of Chelsea. If subsequent studies have reached contradictory conclusions, these have been kept under wraps.
We are told there are water shortages every year, but no reports are published. If there have been shortages, we would like to know when, where and why? Did house owners install new swimming pools and ignore existing alternative sources of water?
For many of us, moving to Chelsea was no walk in the park. In my case, it took four years to select the property and to have it surveyed and subdivided, get a cadaster, and to build the house. Like many others, I was willing to put in this huge effort because Chelsea is such an extraordinarily beautiful place. Turning Chelsea into suburbia has always been opposed by residents.
Chelsea Council led us by the nose through a lengthy and expensive ‘visioning’ process, and then ignored the outcome. Residents overwhelmingly said they wanted “no major changes,” while a much smaller number of business owners and developers wanted big changes – fast. Council ignored the residents and is doing what developers want.
Chelsea’s track record with sewer projects has been poor. Costs have been double the budget, and the technology has been faulty. Can we expect anything different on a much larger and more difficult project?
The province tells us they have no funds to subsidize this project. Why are we not listening?
The only way to stop this is to elect a different council on November 3.
As Rene Levesque used to say, this is a real “pensez-y bien.”