Mayor: Chelsea can’t stop all construction
Chelsea residents may have little sway in how their municipal government revises the 2022 master plan – a road map for urban development in Chelsea.
This summer, the Ward 2 Residents Association – a ward that encompasses a large part of Gatineau Park and the centre village – surveyed Chelsea residents at large about the municipal master plan, tackling subjects like residential developments, social services, and road safety. Their study revealed that a majority of survey respondents opposed the construction of 1,000 residential units.
Of the 437 survey respondents – unconfirmed Chelsea residents – 62 per cent opposed new home developments. This survey question, however, wrongly stated that the residential units would be located downtown. Chelsea Mayor Pierre Guénard said developments are not restricted to downtown, rather many of those developments would be in Farm Point.
Regardless of where new homes are built, Guénard said, “We can’t just stop all construction projects in Chelsea — legally, we can’t do that.”
Additionally, 93 per cent of respondents worry that an additional 1,000 homes will worsen the congestion on Chelsea roads. In response, Guénard explained that stopping residential development would not solve the municipality's heavy traffic: “Chelsea’s traffic problems are the fault of out-of-towners who visit Gatineau Park and those who commute from Aylmer to Gatineau through Chelsea — not new residents.”
The survey also found that 84 per cent of respondents would prefer if the municipality froze residential developments until the government adopts a growth fee law for developers. The purpose of this fee is to help the municipality fund, build, and maintain social services.
On the issue of adopting a growth fee, Guénard said: “We are already doing that.”
In the council's master plan draft, a municipal goal is to, “[c] onduct a study and adopt regulations on growth fees” within the next three years. Council has not figured out what the fee will be yet.
Chelsea council will continue to review the master plan until the end of Aug and will come into effect by the end of Nov. To read through Chelsea's master plan draft, visit https:// bit.ly/3zQvBMR.