It’s a jewel of the National Capital Region, just 15 minutes from downtown Ottawa.  With rolling hills, trails, bakeries and shops the west-Quebec village of Old Chelsea is a favourite spot for residents and tourists.  Soon though, Old Chelsea will have a new look.

“There is a lot of change happening and it’s happening very quickly,” says Chelsea Mayor Caryl Green.

Green says the installation of town water and sewage three years ago helped move along the future vision for Chelsea.  The area, with a current population of 7,000, will see that number explode within the next five to ten years, with the addition of 1,000 new homes and condominiums.

Green says it’s all part of the province’s master plan.

“Quebec does ask that all rural municipalities in Quebec to densify our villages to see sustainable development, so it’s part of the orientation by Quebec.”

On Tuesday, developer Landlab Inc. announced it’s partnering with Groupe Nordik, the owners of the popular Nordik Spa in Chelsea, to create the Hendrick Farm Village.  The $100 million development, in the new housing subdivision just off highway 5 at the entrance to Old Chelsea, will be created to look like a mini Tremblant village, with restaurants, café’s, shops, condominiums and rentals, in hopes of attracting tourists and new residents.

“It will be a natural extension to everything that’s already in Chelsea,” says Landlab President Sean McAdam.

“The Nordik Spa attracts about 300,000 visitors each year, Old Chelsea attracts about 2.7 million people a year coming through to the Gatineau Park,” adds McAdam,

“We feel this creates a real destination.”

Green says the Hendrick Farm Community development fits with the areas “vision”, creating housing along with businesses close-by to ensure people who live in the neighbourhood can walk or bike for groceries or to appointments. 

Not all residents, especially those who have been there for years, agree with Old Chelsea’s new vision,

“It’s getting a bit out of control,” says resident Jeanne Dessureault.

Dessureault has lived in Old Chelsea, right across from the entrance to Gatineau Park, for 41 years.  She says out of all the new developments, the Hendrick Farm neighbourhood is the most suitable for Chelsea.  She says developers have seemed to get it right.  But she worries about the population explosion and what it will do for the already busy and bustling streets of Old Chelsea. She feels Chelsea is turning into a tourist attraction instead of a place to live.

“There is too much noise, too much disorder, I don’t feel I belong anymore in this community,” says Dessureault.  So she has decided to put her home up for sale and move.

Construction of the Hendrick Farm Village will start next summer, with the first rentals slated to be available by Fall 2020.