• Hunter Cresswell

Chelsea looks ahead to 2040

“None” say majority of Chelsealites to more urban development

Chelsea residents seem to be in opposition to what’s been going on in the centre village.

At least that’s part of the picture painted in the municipality of Chelsea’s “sustainable development strategic vision 2040” final report published in January 2021.

The proposed urban perimeter in Farm Point (right) includes Hwy 105 and Chemin Saint-Clément. The urban perimeter in the centre village (left) allowed the Chelsea council to ban big-box stores and restaurants with drive-throughs. Image courtesy the municipality of Chelsea

According to the report, when respondents were asked about Chelsea’s key weaknesses, the most common response was the rapid rate of residential development. When asked what types of businesses and services they want to see more of in Chelsea, the most common response was “none.” When asked what types of housing they want to see in Chelsea, the most common response was “no additional housing.” When asked what they would suggest as an objective, the most common response was to stop development and preserve Chelsea’s rural character.

The results of this visioning document were compiled from an online survey that over 900 people took part in during summer 2020. A further six consultation meetings took place in April and May 2020, with Chelsea councillors, community groups, business owners, developers, residents from each ward selected by their council representative, and government organizations, such at the MRC des Collines, Transcollines, the ministère des Transports du Québec, and the National Capital Commission.

Of the over 922 online survey respondents, 42 per cent were men, 57 per cent were women, and one per cent were “other.” Almost all – 95 per cent – of respondents were Chelsea home or business owners. Most respondents were between the ages of 35 and 64, and 60 per cent were English speakers.

Respondents said they regard the quality of the natural environment and community lifestyle and the peaceful, rural way of life as Chelsea’s key strengths. They also noted the lack of municipal services and infrastructure and the rapid rate of residential development as Chelsea’s key weaknesses.

The majority of survey-takers said that in 2040, Chelsea should be a place where nature is protected, enhanced, and accessible.

This visioning document was the first step in the municipal master plan update process, which was started in February 2020 when the MRC des Collines adopted a new master plan. The seven municipalities that make up the MRC have until February 2022 to update their individual master plans and bring them in line with the MRC’s. The next steps in Chelsea’s master plan process include a review of planning bylaws and regulations in the summer, followed by the adoption of the final plan by the Chelsea council and the MRC council of mayors as early as this fall.

For more information visit chelsea.ca/plan.

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