No pink in Chelsea, Quebec

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by Mark Burgess on July 8, 2009

July 8, 2009 – They don’t like pink in Chelsea, Quebec.

Or at least, they don’t like “a particular variance of pink with a bit of purple”, as one Old Chelsea village merchant found out.

Chelsea’s architectural planning commission was the subject of one business owner’s wrath at the July 6 council meeting after it rejected the paint job on an Old Chelsea Rd. property.

Manon Leblanc, owner of The Old Chelsea Slipcover Co., said she told herself before painting, “Don’t be too controversial. They don’t like pink in Chelsea.”

She chose a purple-tinged shade that she believed would be easy to identify on the road’s “80 km per hour” traffic.

So why is that particular shade of pink so offensive to the municipality’s sensibilities?

“‘It doesn’t look like Chelsea,’” is what Leblanc says she was told by building inspector Michel Beaulne.

“It doesn’t look white and run down,” she added.

After putting the time and money into sprucing up her storefront, Leblanc was incensed that the renovations were deemed unacceptable. She called the decision “immature.”

The commission’s procedure calls for business owners to have their plans approved in advance, after submitting a colour scheme. Citing time constraints in getting her store painted before June 8′s Chelsea Days fair, Leblanc went ahead with the paint job without approval.

She said there should be colour guidelines so owners know what they can and can’t do, and that the business owners affected should contribute to establishing those guidelines.

Leblanc, who has a university degree in design, objected to a panel of 12 people of no special qualifications determining her building’s aesthetic.

Councillors Jim Connolly and Claude Gervais said the municipality resisted imposing colour guidelines to make the policy less Draconian. Instead, they call for owners to submit proposals that will be dealt with within a month.

Leblanc claimed the rejection had more to do with her going ahead without approval than any objectionable style or colour.

Another hot topic at the meeting was illegal parking on Kingsmere Rd. on the weekends. The no parking sign is reportedly damaged and one resident cited nearly 20 cars illegally parked one Sunday afternoon.

Police have been ticketing cars but residents worried about the danger posed by the parked cars – namely a narrowed lane that makes driving trickier and could inhibit fire trucks from safely passing though.

The mayor said he would deal with the matter promptly.

In other business:

  • Mayor Jean Perras issued his enthusiastic congratulations to two Chelsea athletes: Vanessa Lacasse-Warrick, who recently won the Canadian under-15 fencing championship, and Nicholas Petersen, the hockey standout drafted by the Pittsburg Penguins. “We wish them all the best in their young career and not-so-young career,” the mayor said.
  • Council granted a request for a septic system using tertiary treatment to be installed at a Hollow Glen residence. Perras said the municipality had been against the procedure but the ministry of environment approved it. Council acknowledged that they’re receiving about one similar request each month for the system that uses ultraviolet light to purify waste water that is eventually discharged into nearby ditches.