CHELSEA, QC, May 1 , 2017 – Tonight, the Chelsea Community Trail Coalition will present the powerful results of a petition to the Chelsea Municipal Council to voice their collective support of a viable recreational option for the former Chelsea rail corridor.
The online petition, OuiChelsea.ca, signed by more than 1,560 people, was launched last fall by a new coalition made up of six community groups who joined forces. They include: Sentiers Chelsea Trails, Rails2Trails, Chelsea Action for the Respect of the Environment (ACRE), Cascades Club, Friends of the Gatineau River (FOG) and Loisirs Chelsea Nord Farm Point. The purpose of the petition is to provide Chelsea Municipal Council a clear snapshot of the support by residents across the municipality.
“In order to determine the extent of support, we mapped the postal codes of the Chelsea respondents to understand where they resided and how the support was distributed. What we saw was robust support in every ward in the municipality,” says Coalition spokesperson Brendan Denovan. More than 1000 Chelsea residents representing all wards supported the petition.
This type of community trail project is eligible for the Canada-Quebec Infrastructure and environmental funding programs that subsidize a large part of the costs. At its last meeting, Municipal Council committed to setting up a funding research committee composed of residents and advisors to identify sources of funding for the rail corridor transformation project over the next few months.
Based on the strength of the results, the Coalition is calling for Council to commit to not using the Chelsea rail corridor for any other purposes but non-motorized, active transportation. This would remove the current roadblock to applying for government funding.
“This type of project could benefit from government funding but in order to be eligible, Council must formally express their commitment so the time to take action is now,” says Coalition member Alain Piché.
The Coalition invites all residents of Chelsea, who have not already done so, to sign the petition online at OuiChelsea.ca.
In addition to saying “yes,” many respondents eloquently expressed their personal reasons for supporting this trail.
“Right in my backyard, I’d like to hand this down to my daughters so their kids can also enjoy a bit of paradise.” Jacques Bourgeois
“I live along the River and love using the tracks to walk and ski and they would be far more useful with the tracks removed. This will be a massive betterment to our families and many others ability to enjoy this natural corridor along the rivers edge.” Jasmin Lidington
“The railway runs at the bottom of our property. We already use the land daily and would like to see it preserved and maintained for all to use.” Barbara Schultz
“Hi, my name is Callum and I am 11.I think that a trail will help connect parts of Chelsea and it will help me visit my friends. ;-)” Callum Bender
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For more information, contact:
Brendan Denovan, Coalition and R2T spokesperson at 819-743-7144
Alain Piché, Coalition and Sentiers Chelsea Trails spokesperson at 819-827-3750 or 819-665-5700