Bureaucracy blunders Chelsea, Quebec sign bylaw

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by admin on December 2, 2009

The Editor

Once again, a small business runs afoul of the bureaucracy of Chelsea, Quebec.

The Site Planning Architectural Control Committee Chair Luc Poulin feels it was disrespected because Galerie Mauve did not wait for the official approval prior to installing the petite sign even though the sign meets all colour, size, and design requirements.

We all know that in any business, a good name and sign is essential for success; to be recognized as open to the public is a priority.

Of course, (owner) Manon Leblanc is in a hurry, she is a small independent business person, in a notoriously business-unfriendly town, and in recessionary times to boot.

Does the councillor/ deputy mayor feel she has all the time in the world to wait for the committee’s pleasure or next convenient sitting? Unlike the government or contracted consultants, time is of the essence to the small business entrepreneur.

When I sat with the business community as represented on the committee drafting the SPAC bylaw we told this committee and the council that there would be these type of problems with this law when it was drafted four years ago. They didn’t listen then and went ahead with this draconian taste by-law anyway.

The irony about this foolish bylaw and some others is they penalize those who try to work through the system but they pay no mind those who disregard and bypass the process entirely.

Many refuse to apply through the process and simply go ahead and do the work on the weekends and under the cover of night, and are not even challenged.

We all are aware of many examples of “under the radar” approach in Chelsea.

Witness the St. Stevens Church Rectory historic stone wall and wrought iron fence; demolished and removed without a peep or a permit. Just a small sample of what is planned for that “historical and architecturally significant edifice”.

So there is really effective, pro-active site planning and architectural control Chelsea style; penalizing citizens who try to improve their properties and provide immunity to those who neglect maintaining property standards or avoid dealing with the town bureaucracy period.

Brilliant! Is it any wonder that there are more vacant commercial properties here in the old village now than when we moved here six years ago?

Let’s hope the new council sees the way clearly to review, revise and amend some of these restrictive, outdated bylaws and develops a new attitude of consideration and co-operation. We are not in the age when the Emperor rules and the peasants just obey.

Bruce Langer Co-owner Bougie Doozy Candle

Member Municipal Relations Committee for the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce