I was appalled to read online Bruce Langer’s Letter to the Editor, “An encounter with ‘conflict of interest’ in Chelsea politics,” (Sept. 25 edition).
I served as co-chair of the Advisory Committee on Sustainable Infrastructure with Councillor Gauvreau and found his conduct and performance exemplary in all aspects of what being a co-chair entails. I am confident that the five other members of the Infrastructure Committee would agree with this assessment.
I do not find it to be a ‘conflict of interest’ when the councillor for Old Chelsea volunteers to work on a committee that is addressing the most important issue for his Old Chelsea constituents at this time. How best to deal with the serious health and environmental impacts associated with sewage leakage from aging septic systems on quarter-acre lots in the village? I think most Old Chelsea residents would want their local councillor so engaged.
Obviously, Langer is not familiar with the limited, rather technical nature of the committee’s mandate, nor aware that the committee’s voting procedures precluded Councillor Gauvreau from voting on any committee resolutions or recommendations to council.
Langer alleges that this councillor was “previously content to allow the water project to terminate at the Nordic Spa, leaving the rest of Old Chelsea without potable water,” and that “this councillor was totally prepared to let his constituents of Old Chelsea be deprived of potable water while his property was serviced” – I know the exact opposite to be true.
I remind Langer that it was council who decided to repeal the April 2011 borrowing bylaw 782-11 funding a feasibility study on potable water treatment and distribution infrastructure to service the Central Village Built Sector (Old Chelsea). I understand that council questioned whether a referendum on the Old Chelsea potable water bylaw would succeed after the results of the bylaw registry, and cancelled the project. I know that when the Infrastructure Committee began its work in July 2011, there was considerable discussion on whether this was warranted.
In December 2011, concerned that we had not had much input from the residents and businesses of Old Chelsea in our public meetings, the committee sent a questionnaire to each Old Chelsea registered voter asking for their comments and positions on the various issues and concerns related to sewer and potable water infrastructure servicing Old Chelsea needs. The survey results led the committee to conclude that Old Chelsea voters were strongly in support of investments in both sewer and potable water infrastructure.
The committee terminated its mandate on March 3, 2012. Included in its final recommendations to council was to put the Old Chelsea potable water infrastructure project back on the table.
I think it entirely appropriate that it was Councillor Gauvreau who had the honour of introducing bylaw 835-12 to fund the Old Chelsea potable water infrastructure project in September 2012. The success of the bylaw reverse petition clearly shows that the Old Chelsea community has recognized that the proposed sewer and water infrastructure is essential to cleaning up the environmental mess that is now Old Chelsea – and it has now voted to pay for it.
Old Chelsea, QC