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Major mixed development for Meredith Neighbourhood 

May 16th,2024 | Municipal News, News

In this mockup of the new development planned for Chelsea’s Meredith Neighbourhood, residential apartments sit above commercial shop fronts, linked with pedestrian-only throughways. Image: courtesy Dominic Labrie

Chelsea will add another 236 units of housing and commercial spaces to its growing village centre after council voted to approve a major new development despite an objection by the district councillor.

The southern part of Meredith Neighbourhood, between Relais, Cecil and Old Chelsea Roads, belongs to the development company CARGO, which has been trying to obtain approval for the next phase of its development since last fall. 

At the May 7 council meeting, Chelsea councillors voted to approve the overall plan CARGO proposed, which includes a mix of residential and commercial units. 

According to a design plan shared on social media by Coun. Dominic Labrie, who represents most of Chelsea’s centre village, the development will consist of ten 20-unit buildings, three 12-unit buildings, plus a building that has been designated for use as a medical clinic, although the plan to establish doctors’ offices there has yet to be confirmed. 

All residential units in the development are designed to be one or two-bedroom apartments.  

CARGO is responsible for building 125 homes in the Meredith Neighbourhood to the northeast of the future development.  Back in February, council rejected CARGO’s proposed plan for the subdivision, citing “architectural monotony” in its building designs. At the time, Coun. Labrie objected to the plans largely based on the lack of units with three or more bedrooms. 

Coun. Labrie voted against the development again on May 7, this time because the public was not invited to an open consultation and was, therefore, unable to offer input on the design. 

“I voted against the project because I would have liked residents to have been consulted before the final council vote, as permitted by section 145.18 of the Act respecting land use planning and development,” Labrie explained in an email to the Low Down. “Unfortunately, this request was rejected by the other members of council.

“I think we have two conflicting visions. Some people think that these decisions should be made exclusively by specialists, [such as] planners…and engineers, etc. I think this input is important, of course, but I think we need to involve residents more closely in order to design better projects…I can’t understand how the council can make such an important decision for the future of our community without consulting to bring out the potential issues,” Labrie expressed. 

The public is welcome to attend online meetings of the Planning and Sustainable Development Advisory Committee (CCUDD) when developers often present projects to committee members. However, question period is only held before presentations take place, meaning residents have no formal opportunity to question developers on their plans. 

President of the Ward 2 Residents’ Association, Jacques Michaud, agreed with Coun. Labrie: when it comes to public consultation, “this is a no-brainer. Currently, projects are not explained properly to residents prior to being voted by the Council…The CCUDD is not an effective consultation mechanism.” 

Michaud said that there are mixed opinions among his association, and therefore is only speaking for himself. He added, “I think that the construction of mixed residences in [this sector] is a good initiative provided the design respects the Chelsea [look and feel] and that [developers] are not building strictly apartments for singles…Having commercial facilities on the bottom floor makes sense.”

The Low Down reached out to CARGO for comment but did not receive a response by publication deadline. 

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Support feisty, independent journalism.

 

At the Low Down, we are passionate about delivering quality local news to Gatineau Hills residents. But passion alone cannot pay the bills.

To help meet the demands of inflation and the costs of producing fact-based local news, we have introduced new pricing options. Our goal is to meet readers where they’re at, and keep our newspaper as affordable as possible.

Print + Digital Subscriptions

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