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  • Trevor Greenway

How did we get here?

How is it that hundreds of single family homes can be erected in Chelsea in what seems like just a few years, but it has taken over 10 to build just 12 seniors’ units in Farm Point?

How is that 22 kilometres of railway can be converted into a $2.23 million trail for cyclists and pedestrians in a little over three years, but it has taken over 10 years to build just 12 seniors’ units in Farm Point?

How is it that politicians and advocates can voice a “screaming need” for a strategy for seniors for decades, yet it has taken 10 years to build just 12 seniors’ units in Farm Point?

And while those 12 units are slowly becoming a reality, it will be a drop in the bucket for the region’s aging population. This bandaid in Farm Point won’t even cover the giant wound that has been festering for decades in the MRC des Collines-de-l’Outaouais — and the reality is that a lot of seniors won’t be able to grow old in Chelsea. They just won’t.

According to data from La Table de développement social des Collines-de-l’Outaouais, there are just 162 social and private seniors homes in the MRC des Collines region — and exactly zero in Chelsea. With a rapidly-aging population – 6,366 citizens in the region over the age of 65 – the situation is nearing a crisis, if not there already. But what can we do? How did we get here?

If you ask outgoing Chelsea Mayor Caryl Green, she’ll argue that bureaucracy has been the main hurdle — especially the three-year moratorium Quebec placed on building permits following the deadly fire in L’Isle-Verte in 2014 that killed 32 seniors.

But that moratorium was lifted in 2017. How many homes went up in Chelsea since then?

Chelsea could have, absolutely should have, mandated developers to include a certain number of affordable rental options within their expensive developments and, in