Saved station almost lost
Cascades railway station not moving to trail
The historic Cascades railway station, which the community recently raised $35,000 to move from its current location in Farm Point, came one vote away from being destroyed.
If councillor Simon Joubarne hadn’t changed his initial “no” vote to a “yes” during the April 6 Chelsea council meeting, a contract to move the station wouldn’t have been approved and it would have been destroyed, according to council discussion.
“If it’s not moved, it will be torn down, that’s what we understand,” Mayor Caryl Green said during the meeting.
After initial discussion about the $3,000 contract with CDS Building Movers to move the station, a vote was called and councillors Greg McGuire, Kay Kerman, and Joubarne voted against the contract, while councillors Pierre Guénard and Kimberly Chan voted for it.
It was only after a lengthy discussion about the fate of the station that another vote was called — this time with Joubarne voting “yes” for the contract. Chelsea director general John-David McFaul said that this double vote is allowed under municipal law.
Another shocker that came out of the April 6 council meeting is that the awarded contract wasn’t to move the station anywhere near the community trail, which is now officially known as Voie Verte Chelsea, as organizers of the fundraiser to save the station and councillors had hoped. Instead it will be moved to the municipal land near the water pumping station that is south of Old Chelsea Road near the Hwy 5 on-ramp.
“From an Amis de Voie Verte Chelsea perspective, we’d prefer that it be on the trail,” the group’s president and fundraiser organizer Sandy Foote said.
But he’s happy that what he calls “the little station that could” is being moved and preserved.
“Our job was to save it, and it’s saved,” Foote said.
The council decided to move the station to this location in the centre village because none of the other options were feasible: the station couldn’t be stored in the Farm Point Community Centre parking lot because construction of the senior residence is taking place this summer; it couldn’t be stored in the southern parking lot of Farm Point Park because of concerns about a nearby wetland; it couldn't be moved along Voie Verte Chelsea near the Cascades Club because the club opposed it, citing the limited space and all the activities it conducts in the area; and it couldn’t go along the trail near Mill Road because residents in the area opposed it, Green explained during the meeting.
Chelsea initially started preparing a temporary site for the station right along Mill Road next to the trail, but based on resident feedback, fully prepared and levelled another site along the trail, which was a couple hundred metres up the trail away from the road. When asked how much that cost, Chelsea communications officer Maude Prud’homme-Séguin said that no money was budgeted for the site prep and only staff time was used.
However, about 15 Mill Road residents that the municipality consulted with still opposed the location of the station, so the only other option that the council had in the short time available to make the decision was to move it near the water pump station.
Green said that the Ministère des Transports du Québec needed the date and route that the station would travel, and that prepping the old Cross farm where the station currently sits would start the day after the station is moved.
The old farm is expected to be turned into the site of a gas station, convenience store, and McDonald’s restaurant.
Foote said the station is expected to be moved on April 22.