Chelsea Mayor: Carman Road a ‘possible location’ for municipal garage
Chelsea has purchased property on Carman Road as a possible future site for its municipal garage — a location that has drawn opposition from some in Farm Point.
Chelsea Mayor Pierre Guénard said the municipality must relocate the existing facility by 2045, and said the future garage site, which has already seen extensive surface work, is not set in stone.
The municipality has been racing to purchase properties for needed facilities and services because it doesn’t own much land within Chelsea borders and had previously sold off some of its holdings, he explained. Most notably, he said the municipality wants to build a new French-language school in Chelsea, but doesn’t currently have any land for the facility.
While the municipality has a few decades before the 2045 deadline to build a new garage, Guénard said it needs to start now to identify locations that could host it. The site on Carman Road, which prompted an online petition denouncing the choice, is only a “possible location,” he explained.
“We know that the municipal garage needs to be moved by 2045. You know, it's still a while, but we need to find a possible location for that,” he said in a phone interview. “So, at this point, it's a possible location, but nothing is inked.”
A recent petition popped up on leslignesbougent.org expressing disappointment with the municipality for choosing the Carman Road site as a dry material depot and future site of a municipal garage.
The petition, only signed with the name “Des citoyens de Farm Point” asks the mayor to review the decision, saying residents are enjoying the municipal park there, the “wonderfully landscaped green space on Bates Road,” which is located in front of the depot and the access to Gatineau Park provided by Carman Road.
“When we moved in, we chose the city of Chelsea for its values and in particular the protection of the environment and green spaces. The development of this depot does not fit with this value, which is dear to us and which is nevertheless shared in the municipal strategic vision,” the petition reads.
“We must admit that we are very unhappy with the choice of location,” the petition further stated.
The petition ends with seven questions for the municipality, including wondering how zoning for the property changed without alerting residents.
As of Tuesday morning, it had 77 of the 100 signatures it was seeking.
But Guénard said no work on the site is imminent. It was acquired for “eventual municipal use,” and some rocks were put at the site because of unrelated nearby construction, he explained.
“No calls for tenders have been given for the architect or whatsoever. We have to look at possible areas to put our municipal infrastructure,” he added.
Guénard also signaled that the municipality is still looking to purchase more land, saying that it will give council options on where to place new or relocated facilities.
“If we acquired a second [parcel of] land or [a] third and fourth piece of land, well, then we give ourselves options for relocating some of our infrastructures,” he said. The current garage is located on land owned by the National Capital Commission. It needs to be moved because the current lease will end in 2045 and the NCC has said it will not renew it.