The recent news about the removal of community docks on the Gatineau River along River Road has left me outraged. It’s alarming to hear that Mayor [Pierre] Guénard and the municipality are considering a plan to provide a summer playground for not only Chelsea residents but also residents from the surrounding regions. How can they be so thoughtless about the impact it will have on long-time residents and community associations?
The historical community docks in Chelsea are what make it unique. It’s not fair to take that away from the resident associations who have had access to it for years. The current plan may seem idealistic, but the potential maintenance costs and insurance liabilities that may arise with open-season, municipal maintained docks need to be considered, not to mention the parking problems associated with people visiting from outside the area.
As a former member of the Chelsea Trail Committee, I remember the discussions we had about potential areas for community docks on land owned by the municipality. We suggested waterfront docks and community picnic areas accessible to all residents through an access gate system. This system would provide exclusive access to Chelsea residents who paid for them, while reducing the costs and liability for the municipality.
I appreciate Councillor Rita Jain’s efforts in accommodating the residents in her area and understanding the situation at hand. However, it’s disheartening that the current council seems to be moving away from their initial concerns for the environment and charging residents exorbitant fees to maintain something they love.
I urge Mayor Guénard and the council members to reconsider their current plan and go back to the drawing board. The waterfront is an integral part of Chelsea’s summer way of life, and any solution must be thoughtfully considered to preserve the quality of life for its residents. The community deserves better than this.