Ban on ‘zone of influence’ well permits drills taxpayers in Chelsea, Quebec

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by admin on February 16, 2011

The Editor,

Re “No more wells in Chelsea Creek ‘zone’ ” (Low Down, Feb. 9 edition):

I read in disbelief the Low Down report that Chelsea, Quebec council has announced it will not issue individual well permits within the Chelsea Creek development’s “zone of influence.”

I beg your pardon? With this announcement, Chelsea council has rendered virtually worthless an undeveloped one-acre property I own on Mullen Road – as well as any other undeveloped properties within the “zone of influence.” All this because of the proposed communal well for the Chelsea Creek development.

I have been paying taxes on this building lot for the past 26 years. I will be seeking and expect compensation from the municipality and/or the Chelsea Creek development. I will also be seeking, and expect, a significant reduction in the taxes I pay for this property, since if no well can be drilled, the property can no longer be considered a potential building lot.

But wait. According to the Chelsea website, “You must submit an application for a permit before installing any type of groundwater catchment work. These include: tube well, shallow well, well point or spring tapping. This applies to all new construction and for replacing, deepening or changing any type of catchment work (tube well or surface well) aimed at supplying an existing residence.”

No individual well permits to be issued within the “zone of influence?” From that, I take it that this decision will apply to all of the 500 or so existing homes within the “zone of influence.”

Does this mean that Chelsea will no longer issue individual well permits to any existing homes within the “zone of influence,” even if the homeowners need to “replace, deepen or change” their existing wells because Chelsea Creek’s communal well has affected them, or if they need to “replace, deepen or change” their existing wells for any other reason? Does this mean that if you live within the “zone of influence” and you have a problem with your well, tough crumpets, you are out of luck?

Wow! Just think what this decision means for property values within the zone! Just think what it means for Chelsea’s tax base! Do the math: 500 homes multiplied by $296,400 (the median value of a single-family home given in the 2011 Chelsea budget).

That amounts to $148,000,000, not an insignificant percentage of Chelsea’s tax base, don’t you think? With a drop in property values within the “zone of influence,” someone will have to pick up the slack, taxwise. It looks like all the rest of Chelsea might be paying, and paying, and paying, for this decision.
Judy Kingsley
Chelsea, Quebec