Chelsea, Quebec heritage buildings need ‘guardian angel’

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by admin on January 13, 2010

The Editor,

According to the Le Droit daily newspaper, in an article by Yves Soucy on Jan. 7, the municipality of L’Ange Gardien will add two buildings to its list of 145 designated “historic monuments” (20 of them over 130 years old).

Under “la loi des biens culturels” a settler’s house from 1860 and St. John in the Wilderness Anglican Church will be added to the list.  Under the act, says Le Droit, “the properties may not be demolished without permission, and work on the buildings may not alter the heritage features nor change the original use.  The listing renders these buildings admissible for heritage funds from Québec.
The municipality could help with restoration”.
I am told Chelsea has a “very good” built heritage policy.  I have read attentively the document on the subject that the municipality gave me, but I could not see an opening for controls as strong as L’Ange Gardien’s on modifications and even less for funds to help owners of heritage homes and buildings.
I am told that in Chelsea’s current fiscal climate, it would be unrealistic to expect this place to reach our little neighbour township’s heritage standards.
That is a pity, as the remaining nineteenth-century buildings in the Chelseas are being altered at a dismaying rate, and some are in the last stages of decay – such as the sadly crumbling St. Stephen’s presbytery.
The built heritage of Chelsea needs a guardian angel (un Ange Gardien).

Harry Gow
Chelsea