Ward 4 candidate wants to slow down spending

Oct. 14, 2009 – A polarized community, rising taxes and the face of development in Chelsea are all contributing motivations for Paul Fydenchuk’s first foray into municipal politics. The fiddler in the tux, as represented in his campaign poster, is intent on defusing some of the municipality’s hostility and bringing the debate back to more “sensible” ground.

Fydenchuk, a transportation manager for an environmental and waste management company, is running for the Ward 4 seat left vacant by outgoing councillor Josh Moon. The seat is being contested by Kay Kerman, a teacher at Gatineau’s Hadley junior high.

Fydenchuk, 52, moved to Chelsea from Edelweiss in 1991 and has been involved with school governing boards, the Gatineau Valley Historical Society, the Castenchel Choir and the Gatineau River Yacht Club. He is married and has a 14-year-old daughter.

Fydenchuk is concerned about the downloading of responsibility to municipalities and its effect on debt and taxation. In order to avoid forcing people out of Chelsea, he said the next council will be forced to sort through the debt load and find a way to prevent taxes from rising further.

“As a community we’ve bitten off a lot,” he said, referring to the Meredith Centre and wastewater systems in Farm Point and the centre village. “At some point we’ve got to catch our breath and say stop.”

As far as the community centre is concerned, Fydenchuk respects the borrowing bylaw and hopes that everything will be delivered on time and on budget. But he concedes that if the community centre construction goes above what was allotted, “the next council will have some really tough choices to make.”

He’s most concerned with healing the wounds and learning from the experience so that future debates aren’t contested in the same hostile manner. He said more than simply getting elected, he hopes his campaign promotes a brand of non-adversarial dialogue.

“If I can direct part of the dialogue, defuse and redirect part of the discussion in a positive, sensible way I’ll be happy,” he said.

Fydenchuk also considers the Chelsea Creek debate over for now, while recognizing that the issues at its core are still present. He expects the pressure to develop Chelsea’s south end will only increase, as the sewer line makes the land more appealing.

“I don’t see high-density as the future of Chelsea,” he said.