Fair distribution of development servicing costs remains a puzzle in Chelsea, Quebec

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by admin on February 16, 2011

The Editor,

For the longest time it has puzzled me as to why, with all the proposed development along Old Chelsea Road, the municipality could not negotiate a deal to satisfy all parties and get the project done at a price everyone could afford.

I wrote in this paper at least a year ago, how there were at least 12 reasons (projects) in need of water and sewer services.

While it continues to be true that these 12 existing or future projects still require servicing, what I have discovered to my amazement is how Chelsea intends to distribute the cost of these services.

Apparently, according to Chelsea Director-general Paul St.-Louis, due to the borrowing bylaw required in the financing of this project, the costs are attributed according to land mass rather than unit counts. This is unheard of in any other constituency other than Quebec. All servicing, development costs are always related to the unit counts.

The unit count will ultimately dictate usage, and usage is of prime importance in the issue of water and sewage.

In the Chelsea scenario, one developer with the largest parcel of land – who also happens to be dedicating 25 acres of it for an organic farm, parks and trails – is to pay 40 per cent of the total project cost, some $3.5 million. Another large development with almost twice the number of units is to pay 10 per cent less than the largest portion.

The newly proposed Spa Hotel of 100 units is to pay $250,000 – a formula all based on land mass, not unit count. It is no wonder that there is so much acrimony and division and fuss about getting this project done.

The developer with the lion’s share of the bill has been told by members of council to just push his unit count up to 400 or 500 to finance the cost – the thought of which would have most developers licking their lips and rubbing their hands with glee, that the municipality would support more units.

Why would he change the philosophy and concept of his development and affect the entire village in order to fit the municipality’s backward financing mechanism and borrowing by-law?

Surely there has got to be a more reasonable and sensible method to deal with this fiasco and attribute costs fairly amongst all the large players to get this done.

Bruce Langer

Chelsea, Quebec