Chelsea, Quebec nursery school goes by the boards in hockey-oriented Meredith Centre

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by admin on October 6, 2010

The Editor,

The whole community of Chelsea, Quebec continues to be taken for a ride in this “community centre” debacle.

The Chelsea Co-operative Nursery School is a community institution that has served and touched most families in the community for many, many years now. In hopes of a better situation for the children and families its serves, the CCNS discretely supported and promoted the Meredith Centre, allowing posters and flyers in its halls in an effort to bolster its bid to occupy promised space in the community centre.

Sadly, these hopes were recently dashed when Chelsea council and the Chelsea Foundation opted not to support additional space for community-based charitable organizations like the CCNS, so it can pursue its reversed decision to maintain the hockey arena.

Unbelievably, the Low Down reported (Sept. 15 edition) that the Sept. 13 council meeting was swayed by the whole 60 people who turned out to the meeting (out of Chelsea’s population of 7,000) and arena advocates who put together a new cost proposal which would see the Arena go ahead and the proposed double gymnasium eliminated from this “phase” of construction.

This reader noted that future phases remain unfunded. Although the little church in which the nursery school currently resides presents a quaint and acceptable venue, the expanded space and facilities (in the Meredith Centre) would have enhanced their reach and service to the community.

So it is a loss for future families who will be looking for spaces at a positive and affordable co-operative nursery school, and it is a loss to those CCNS parents and alumni who supported the Meredith Centre based on its promise of expanded community services for children and families.

For those of us who have no personal investment in this community centre project, but who will be footing the bill and putting up with the construction woes, it is difficult to see a situation like this where community support has waned, yet municipal officials are willing to support only one aspect of community interests.

As a result of this community centre debacle (and what appears to be egregious mismanagement of the issue), we will now have a hockey arena built a stone’s throw from our an outdoor rink at Chelsea Elementary School, to serve a high-density subdivision across the street, to reduce the commute of the small, local hockey community by five minutes, and, of course, to invite Ottawa hockey players driving up looking for available ice time.

This is no longer a community centre servicing a community; it is a hockey arena servicing hockey players.

Chandra Gibbs, Patrick Hines

Larrimac, Quebec.