Chelsea, Quebec council puts decisions on water system in wrong hands

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by admin on May 4, 2011

The Editor,

Things Old Chelsea, Quebec residents should know before May 5:

If you live in the “built” sector of Old Chelsea, you will be eligible to sign a register to request a referendum on a borrowing bylaw of $156,000 for professional fees to develop a plan for a municipal drinking water system.

A separate bylaw, again for professional fees of $522,000 has been passed for the “unbuilt” sector of Old Chelsea. For this bylaw, only five developers who desperately need water for high-density development are eligible to vote.

Why not a single borrowing bylaw for what is, in effect, the same system? The reason is simple. Chelsea council has decided Chelsea needs potable water, and it has put the decision primarily in the hands of developers who need it, and not in the hands of those who don’t.

The following week, we will also be eligible to sign a register, this time for professional fees of $748,000 for both built and unbuilt sectors for a municipal sewer system that the mayor has said publicly the developers will get – even if Old Chelsea residents don’t want it.

There is a sewage problem in Old Chelsea Village, for which the province has granted $2.4 million to resolve. From this has evolved a municipal sewage system to service both Old Chelsea and undeveloped lands with, again, very little consultation with those with the problem in the first place.

Letters requesting consultation and stating opposition were sent, citizens expressed their objections at the Council and at public meetings, a petition of over 500 signatures was signed, and a demonstration march attended by some 250 people was organized. All in vain: the mayor and council are simply not listening.

A letter from the municipality was delivered March 29 to explain the proposed bylaws.    People should be aware that the costs quoted in this letter are not even for the full amount of the professional fees requested under the bylaws, and they most certainly do not cover the costs required to construct and operate the proposed systems.

If you live at the following addresses – 11 Notch Rd., Old Chelsea Rd. Nos. 144-254, Padden Rd. 5-24, Scott Rd. 6-68, Versant Rd. 3 – have been residents here for six months, or be a business owner or operator here for 12 months and are over 18 year of age, you are eligible to sign the register.

The register for the two water borrowing bylaws (781-11 and 782-11) will be open Thursday, May 5, from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Town Hall, 100 Old Chelsea Rd.

The register for the sewage borrowing by-law (780-11) is expected to be opened the following week.

 

Jeanne Dessureault

Old Chelsea, Quebec