Chelsea’s affordable seniors’ housing project is a creative solution
By Claude Gervais
In response to Maggie Kilian’s Valley Voices (May 14), the Corporation d’habitation de Chelsea (CHC) is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to creating affordable housing solutions. The volunteer board is elected annually from CHC’s membership, which is open to all, including Ms Killian.
Not everyone in Chelsea is in the higher income demographic. The first focus of CHC is to build an affordable, twelve-unit seniors’ housing project using the Societé d’ habitation du Québec (SHQ) model and funding programme. Our application to SHQ is complete; over 80 Chelsea-based seniors are on a waiting list and the allocation of funds for our project is pending.
After several years, the CHC evaluated many possible locations. This process was detailed and information was available to all. It assessed all of Ms. Kilian’s creativity factors: financial, safety, environmental, location, and opportunities for intergenerational interaction. All of her concerns were addressed in the proposal that CHC made to the municipality.
A presentation will be made on the proposed zoning for the seniors’ residence on June 5at a public meeting at the Farm Point Community Centre. Ms. Kilian’s recent concerns are new to us, as previously they were stated to be privacy in her side yard and access for walking her dogs. Both are being addressed by way of landscape and fencing and the creation of safe walking trails on the property.
Much work has been done over the past four years and there have been over a dozen public meetings providing information to the community. References to the Peggy Brewin Cooperative Nursery School being in conflict with the project are inaccurate. In January 2013, our architect and construction committee met with the president of Peggy Brewin to explain details of the project. Recent communications with the preschool indicate that it still strongly supports our project.
The forest is being substantially protected and will be shared with the community. The location of the preschool in the community centre is an excellent and a natural fit. Notwithstanding Ms. Kilian’s statements, there are no new safety concerns created by the CHC project.
The location of the proposed residence respects the bylaws of the municipality; it is only the addition of the term ‘seniors’ residence’ that requires a zoning change. This does not open the door to any other new development in Farm Point. A recent door-to-door survey of the village showed 90 per cent support for the project at this location. The Farm Point PPU Consultation Committee, the Farm Point Recreation Committee, and the Farm Point Club d’Age D’or have also expressed their support.
This is a community project that is greatly aided by the contribution of the municipality. We look forward to continued community support in our local fund raising efforts and with respect to the zoning change required.
Claude Gervais is a resident of Chelsea and is the president of CHC