Mill Road decision in Chelsea, Quebec adds to track of secrets

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by admin on March 16, 2011

The Editor,

Chelsea, Quebec has done it again! The municipality announced at the council meeting Monday, March 14, that Chelsea’s sewage plant will be built on Mill Road.

Never mind that the ravine is eroding and that a damning engineering report shows that the soil is of dubious quality. Set aside the fact that Mill Road is in a heritage zone (Bylaw 681-06) and that Chelsea’s Vision Centre-Village Report identifies this street as “subject to special heritage and historical considerations.”

One can dismiss the squishy argument that the broader community of Chelsea regularly visits Mill Road to walk dogs, go for a swim, listen to Spring Peepers and let their kids play safely in nature. Even if one decides that none of these things matter, it would be impossible to ignore the obvious mistake that the municipality is making.

Council meets in camera and makes all decisions behind closed doors, prior to each public meeting. I’m told that this is how things work here and that it’s all perfectly legal. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean that you should. Residents of Chelsea want to know how their representatives arrive at decisions. We are interested in process. We yearn for details.

This sewage fiasco is the latest in a long list of municipal secrets that become public disasters. Residents are quickly losing whatever shred of confidence they once had in the representatives who are currently sitting at the municipal council table. Council has not shown the appropriate documentation that supports their private and hasty decisions in the sewage matter.

Chelsea residents must demand more from this gang.

The technology that council intends to purchase will soon fail to meet federal standards, according to Ottawa’s Riverkeeper. Chelsea’s image as a “green” community is not reflected in the technology and infrastructure that this council pursues. The sewage facility, no matter where it ends up, has major implications for the Gatineau River. Chelsea residents can surely all agree on one thing: that the river is worth protecting.

I am calling on all Chelsea residents to work together to find an innovative sewage solution that will serve the needs of this community for many years. We are about to be in serious debt because of a soon-to-be-outdated sewage system that will risk the health of our watershed and the Gatineau River.

Please tell your councillor that you find their approach short-sighted, hasty and narrow (those are the nicest words I can think of to describe it). We want the best solutions, not the easiest ones.

Contact adenseaton@gmail.com for more information. Let’s help Chelsea grow, while keeping it a place where we still want to live.

Aden Seaton

Chelsea, Quebec