$35K raised to move, restore Cascades train station
Thanks to the work of organizers and generous donations, a piece of local history will be preserved.
One of the last remaining train stations of the Gatineau Valley railway will soon provide trail users in Chelsea a place to rest and learn about the history of the railway and local villages.
This is only possible through a fundraiser organized by Amis de Voie Verte Chelsea and Sentiers Chelsea Trails, which raised $35,000 – well above its $26,900 goal – to move and restore the Cascades trail station building.
“The $35,000 represents a lot of $25 and $50 contributions, but also a lot of larger ones,” Sentier Chelsea Trails president Alain Piché said.
The municipality of Chelsea donated $3,000 as well as staff time from its public works, recreation, and communications departments; the Gatineau Valley Historical Society and its members combined donated about $6,000; and Cascades Club members combined donated around $3,000.
“The farthest away donation was a gentleman from Sussex, England because he loves the history of Chelsea,” Foote said.
The largest donation to the fundraiser to date came in last week from the Lake family’s All One Fund. That fund, founded by Jessica and Scott Lake according to the fund’s website, donated $10,000. The Lake family used to live in Chelsea and were members of the Cascades Club, but now live on Vancouver Island, Foote said.
“I couldn’t believe it,” he said about getting the call from the Lake family fund about the donation.
The station will move from where it sits now – the old Cross farm in Farm Point – to near where the trail intersects with Mill Road. Funds left over will be put toward restoring and renovating it to serve as a rest area with historical information about Chelsea, the railway, and the villages that used to dot the shores of the Gatineau River before they were flooded and lost when the hydro-electric dams were built.
“We’re celebrating what created Chelsea,” Piché said.
The plan the last time The Low Down reported about this fundraiser was to move the building to the parking lot south of Farm Point Park where it would be restored and renovated then moved to its permanent location somewhere to be determined along the trail. Foote said this was scrapped because they would have needed to raise another $26,900 for that second move. Now it will be placed near the trail and Mill Road intersection temporarily while it’s worked on, then it will only require a crane to move it to its permanent location, Foote said.
Piché and Foote said they’d like to see the building restored as close as possible to its original state, but said that the final design isn’t decided. There will be consultation with Mill Road area residents, train and rail enthusiasts, and the Gatineau Valley Historical Society, Foote explained.
The plan is to take the building apart and move the separate frame and roof by flatbed down Hwy 105 the week of March 22.
Donations toward the restoration of the building are still accepted at voievertechelsea.ca.