By Alain Leduc
On behalf of the membership of SOS Hollow Glen, I am responding to the developers’ threat of a lawsuit over ‘restrictive’ Chelsea zoning.
One of the main reasons we – members of SOS Hollow Glen and residents thereof – chose to live in Chelsea is because of the municipality’s stated commitment to environmental values and stewardship.
We believe this is shared by the majority of Chelsea residents. Our elected officials should understand this and be prepared to uphold this pledge.
We are therefore deeply disturbed when we hear statements from our elected council that appear to favour the interests of developers over those of its citizens.
“We will not stop development” was a recent response from Mayor Caryl Green, following the publication of articles on the National Capital Commission (NCC) report on the wildlife corridors in Gatineau Park.
We need to be assured that our elected officials are working for the best interest of Chelsea citizens and of its exceptional environment. The way the municipality will react to the threat of this lawsuit will speak for itself. Will the municipality cave in or stand up to protect the values that are dear to its residents?
When the properties for the proposed development projects were purchased, the developers had to be aware that the lands were zoned PAE and of the implications of that zoning. It had to be known that there was a risk that residents would reject the proposed projects.
So, no, this is not a form of expropriation (a term initially used by a councillor last year in his response to the NCC report mentioned above); Chelsea’s zoning processes are democratic, and I am proud to see that we are using them to protect what we stand for.
Why are the developers not willing to accept the voice of the residents? Are we willing to accept that developers could change the way our municipality is managed?
Our municipal council must respond in a clear and firm manner to this form of pressure and act in a manner that is consistent with our motto: “Chelsea, environment friendly community.”
Ed. note: Alain Leduc, a Chelsea resident, is president of SOS Hollow Glen.