Farm Point quarry project resurfaces
Updated: Jun 18, 2020
By Hunter Cresswell
Some neighbours of the Dery Quarry in Farm Point have seen activity there and have fears about the eventual loss of their unofficial trails on private property, a longtime staple of Gatineau Hills life. The owner said he wants to legitimize those trails by hooking them up with the wider Chelsea trail network, as part of his residential development plans.
Avid readers may recall quarry owner Laurent Dery’s plan to create a housing development on his 70 acres of land. In 2016 he submitted a rezoning request from extraction to residents that would allow for over 100 homes to be built there with a density of two lots per acre, which is twice the density of what’s currently allowed there.
“I have been proactive in discussing and consulting with Farm Point community members about some prospective uses and ideas for the lands,” wrote Dery in an email. “This group was very helpful and many thanks to Mr. [David] Beattie and Claude Gervais for helping organize some of these meetings, which took place a few years ago. I have also discussed potential recreational uses on part of the lands with the municipality and the Chelsea trail network. This site is somewhat my legacy and I want to ensure it will be used by Farm Point residents for generations to come, as well as offer affordable dwellings to Chelsea.”
He also said he has plans for the five- to six-acre extraction quarry — the hole where rock is removed.
“It could be a fantastic place for a regional sports centre,” Dery said over the phone.
But all his plans hinge on the municipal master plan update that will follow the MRC des Collines’ master plan update process, which is currently underway. A master plan is a long-term planning document that guides future development in an area.
The current master plan doesn’t allow for the density he seeks for his development, which is why his project didn’t move forward when he submitted his rezoning request in 2016.
He added that he halved his desired density after consulting with neighbours about his plans.
Jennifer Haire is one of many Farm Point residents who have enjoyed going for walks on trails on Dery’s property.
“I’ve walked it as long as I’ve lived here,” Haire said over the phone. “At least 30 years.”
The trails aren’t official; they’ve either been carved by people walking or they’re old roads, so it could be considered trespassing. Their use, however, doesn’t bother him, Dery said, and he expressed his desire to maintain the main trail if his project moves forward.
Haire said she’s noticed more work going on there and wondered if it meant the project was moving forward.
“This is our backyard, so we’d like to know what’s going on,” Haire said about new roads being created.
Dery explained that some of the roads already built are too steep, over a 10-degree grade, so others are being built, between a six and seven-degree slope, that may be used as roads for the future development project.
But that’s a long way off.
Dery said it’s at least another year until Chelsea could update its master plan so his rezoning request can move forward if approved by the council.
“I am just hoping it would stay as is,” Haire said. “Chelsea doesn’t have that much land left and I think it really went overboard with development.”