• The Low Down

Sale will increase available public land

The Editor,


Meriel Beament Bradford’s letter in last week’s The Low Down pleaded that the municipality of Chelsea not “sell our public land” (“Please don’t sell our public land,” July 28 edition). Ms. Bradford will no doubt be disappointed that the facts don’t match her grim narrative, but for those who are interested, here they are:


The piece of land in question was part of Vince and Gertrude Hendrick's land before it was expropriated for the construction of Hwy 5. In the end, the land was deemed residual by the Ministry of Transport, but the MTQ’s attempt to subsequently sell it was overturned in court since the site is landlocked. In 2012/13 Chelsea identified the site as a key location for the municipal water pressurization station but, again, due to its landlocked nature, the municipality required Hendrick Farm land for access.


In addition, in order to save hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ dollars, the municipality asked to use six metres of prime land across the entire frontage of Hendrick Farm for the installation of water and sewer pipes (that became eight metres once gas lines were installed). Hendrick Farm agreed to both requests on the condition that the unused portion of land around the pressurization station be returned. That would offset the land lost to the servitude and for access to the pressurization station. Both parties agreed; the pressurization station was built, and the water and sewer pipes were laid. That is the transaction that is now being finalized.


It’s worth noting that Hendrick Farm has further proposed a series of practical measures – including gifting additional land for public use – that would accommodate the municipality’s expansion needs, Chelsea Trails’ interest in a new trailhead, and also the management of our own requirements. All of these stakeholders’ interests are balanced by the current plans.


Contrary to Ms. Bradford’s entreaty, the completion of this transaction will actually increase the amount of publicly available land, as it is only because of this agreement that any of the land is available for discussion in the first place.


Sean McAdam, president of Hendrick Farm

Chelsea, QC