The following article first appeared in The Echo of Cantley Volume 35 no 3, October 2023. This article is made available for the enjoyment of others with the express permission of the Echo of Cantley.
On August 30, Cantley Council unanimously passed a resolution “to acquire or expropriate” the entire Pomeroy Farm at 39 chemin River. Expropriation is a cruel, life-changing demand. Unbelievable as it seems, council does have the power to do this – to any one of us, at any time. Beware!
Owner John Pomeroy and the family of long-time tenant Eva Cohen learned about the resolution after it was passed – a complete shock! They had no warning, no notice. Expropriation would be devastating for Eva Cohen, her family, her horses, her Non-Profi t Social Enterprise Civil Protection Youth Canada and for John Pomeroy who promised his parents he would always care for their family farm, maintain the integrity of the land, and protect its heritage.
Once neighbours heard the news, they rallied and were soon joined by other concerned citizens living throughout the municipality to form a group, Friends of the Pomeroy Farm. Since there were no clear reasons about why this expropriation was necessary, several members requested access to information to investigate municipal records. Others spent many hours spreading the word. As we wrote letters and sent emails, more citizens joined in to do the same. A petition was circulated in church, doorto-door and online showing concern and support.
Because of public pressure, just before the September 19 council meeting, council agreed to amend the resolution but not remove the word “expropriate.” During the question period, some questions were heartfelt showing deep concern. Others attempted to discover facts which instigated the resolution. Most powerful of all were questions directed to individual councillors and the mayor which revealed new information as well as insight into Cantley’s fi nances. In my opinion everyone in the room, including the councillors, learned a lot about our municipality and how it functions. Watch the video of the meeting from the municipal website on Facebook or YouTube.
The meeting ended in victory. Five councillors voted in favour of abolishing the August 30 resolution. Councillor de Bellefeuille abstained. Mayor Gomes voted against it.
Because we remain concerned about Cantley’s future and the farm, our group will continue. For now, John will enjoy his family legacy and Eva’s nonprofit organisation will live on for the benefi t of the community. Citizens will continue to enjoy this beautiful iconic landmark often referred to as “Cantley’s jewel.”
Importantly, this is also a victory for Cantley’s heritage. The farm is on original 1830s pioneer farmland. Its “gingerbread” farmhouse was built in 1866. Owners for almost 200 years have carefully maintained the land and its buildings. Its 113 acres are especially valuable environmentally as a pristine greenspace. As one of the most picturesque farm properties in Cantley, it has been photographed for municipal calendars and for other purposes to show Cantley’s pastoral beauty.
John’s father, Arthur Pomeroy was a prominent leader in Cantley’s seemingly impossible battle for independence from Gatineau from 1983 to 1989. Because of his dedication, Cantley is now an independent municipality and we are citizens of Cantley, not the City of Gatineau.
Arthur Pomeroy would be proud of the Cantley citizens who rallied once again, this time to save his farm. Thank you to all of you!