Big mistake to demolish Chelsea, Que rectory

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by admin on June 17, 2009

By Bruce Langer

In the beginning was the Master Plan and the Master Plan was promised by the Municipality and subject to review and revision every five years. And it was good.

Now, lo and behold, on the horizon comes the new visioning for Old Chelsea and a committee is formed to find a consultant. And it was good.

Time passes, maintenance is neglected, decay and rot set in. A historical feature of this quaint village starts to crumble before our very eyes and we don’t even notice. The once magnificent St. Stephen’s Rectory has been abandoned by the parish and because of its state of disrepair, they have requested a demolition permit from the Municipality of Chelsea.

The Municipality, whose public mandate has been loudly stated as preserving the historical significance of the area and its buildings of note must decide.

What does the church intend to do with the land on which this architectural feature sits? Turn it into a parking lot, replied a warden.

Now the church lacks the funds to maintain its facilities, money is tight, donations are down and so funds were not available to properly address maintenance issues that should have been ongoing regularly every year, both for the church building and the rectory. Sadly the rectory didn’t receive any attention for at least the six years I have been walking past it six to eight times a day. Even the cap on the turret has not been reattached, so that water and snow have access to the interior. It has been sadly neglected.

I suggested that they sever the manse from the property and sell it; create a replacement reserve fund with the proceeds and thereby have a maintenance budget to service the church building for the next 25 years or more.

This was not received well. Some concern of who their neighbours might end up being. The Hell’s Angels was mentioned. Yes, they want a headquarters in the village? It is more likely to become boutiques, maybe a restaurant, perhaps some health or wellness professional offices, certainly an addition to the downtown Chelsea core.

This is a matter of stewardship both for the church and now for the Municipality.

It’s like the parable of the master and his three servants; each left with talents (coins) entrusted to invest while he was away. The two wise servants grew their master’s investment and were rewarded. The one that buried the talents in the ground for fear of the potential loss was banished from the household.

St. Stephen’s Church Rectory can’t be allowed to be buried in the ground!

Bruce Langer owns and operates Bougie Doozy Candles in Old Chelsea.