Chelsea, Quebec needs a new mayor

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by Trevor Greenway on August 12, 2009

By Geoff Bleich

The last two issues of the Low Down have raised some interesting issues for the upcoming elections in Chelsea, Quebec this November. Two weeks ago, readers got another glimpse of the proposed development of the Hendricks Farm in Old Chelsea.  As opposed to the high-density suburban mega-development of Chelsea Creek, this looks like the kind of development that is in the best interests of Chelsea.  It looks as if it is something that could be done without expanding the sewer system, could provide some positive growth to the centre of our village and could be done in a manner consistent with what our land can naturally support.  The organic farm is icing on the cake.  This is the kind of development we should all be happy to get behind and which our town council should be facilitating.

Last week comes the bad news.  Only one engineering firm has responded to the tender to oversee the construction of our $10 million arena and conference centre.  We have had a referendum which tepidly supported the project and now rather than hearing alarm bells going off, the municipality is pleased as punch that they received just one bid.  This does not bode well for this project ultimately turning out anything like how it was presented prior to the referendum.  We are either going to get a lot less for our money or it is going to cost us a lot more.  Probably both.
Then there is the announcement of the $2.5 million grant towards the construction of a sewer to serve 10 businesses and 48 homes.  Another $1.5 million in municipal money and we are off to the races.  Of course, it will go over-budget just like Farm Point, but no need to worry because Jean Perras would like to expand its capacity so Chelsea Creek can provide the high density housing and new strip mall that this community so desperately needs.  Instead of keeping the sewer on the west side of Hwy 5, we can extend it to the Gatineau River and have our own river sewage spills just like in Ottawa. Then we can intensify housing development and have our own little Plateau right here in Chelsea.
Don’t share this vision for Chelsea?  Well it is coming soon.  Is it inevitable?  Only if you do nothing.  Preservation Chelsea needs a candidate for mayor who is willing to stand up for development that makes sense and spending that makes sense, we could also use a couple of councillors.  Please see www.preservationchelsea.com for details.

Geoff Bleich lives in Chelsea and is a founding member of Preservation Chelsea.