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Development the big question this election

The Editor,

In hindsight, that the question of whether to build the community trail was the issue in Chelsea’s last municipal election seems puzzling, given the trail’s obvious and lasting public benefits.

We really did collectively miss the mark on that one. The real issue back then, and even more so today, is the nature, pace, and scale of future development in the municipality.

Over the past five to ten years we have seen first-hand the adverse impacts of explosive growth, particularly in the centre village: new suburban developments and businesses have replaced farmland, habitats, and open spaces; levels of traffic congestion and noise are now at levels never seen before; and the rural character of the municipality is being eroded and giving way to a suburban landscape.

Going forward, as residents we must confront the question of what we want Chelsea to be. Below are two contrasting scenarios to consider.

One scenario sees growth and intensification continue and accelerate.

A new “growth-friendly” council would support further expansion of public water and wastewater infrastructure and ease bylaws seen as impediments to growth. Businesses and high-density residential developments would move south from the village and further up into the valley as land and public water supply and wastewater treatment become available.

This vision of ongoing growth benefits developers, businesses, new arrivals to Chelsea, and tourists.