Real estate development group rents Moore Farm for new venue offer
The National Capital Commission (NCC) owns the Moore Farm and has rented the property to a new tenant, Matthew Maxsom of Y Street Capital. Moore Farm, a 12-hectare estate and heritage building off boulevard Alexandre-Taché, has had a long history in the community and has hosted many tenants.
Maxsom, an Aylmer resident who grew up in the community, plans to open a restaurant, “La Commune”, on the property. There are also plans to hold private events at the restaurant. Along with the farm-to-table restaurant, Maxsom said he plans to maintain the property and keep it accessible for those who walk their dogs, bike or cross-country ski.
Maxsom notes that, as the property was gifted to the NCC and it is a heritage site, it must be accessible to the public. “That is the responsibility of the tenants and the site will remain open to the public,” he said.
“We need to produce revenue in order to maintain the property. Our team came up with the restaurant idea as a way to do this, and to also have the means to give back to the community by maintaining the property and community garden. Ultimately, we want to be good stewards of the property and create something new and exciting for Outaouais residents.”
Maxsom told the Bulletin that they hope to expand the patio, build a greenhouse on the property, renovate and fix the caretaker home, and potentially install a glass roof on a section of the barn.
On Saturday, April 9, the new tenants held a meeting with the public to announce their plans and give them a chance to voice their concerns about the project.
A representative of the Association des Résidants des Jardins Taché (ARJT) told the Bulletin, “There are many concerns about potential noise nuisances because, to be profitable, the tenant will have to host many events. It is difficult to enforce sound rules with weddings and other big parties. Citizens do not want to spend their time complaining to the city about noise, or overflow. There are also concerns about access to the farm during these events.”
“We understand the concerns about noise,” said Maxsom. “We are choosing to do private events to generate more income for maintaining the property, as the restaurant may not be able to cover all the costs, considering the high rate of municipal taxes and the rent. We have a sound engineer as part of our team and we have done multiple tests on site to ensure that the noise level will comply with Gatineau bylaws.”
The ARJT representative added that another concern is that the zoning change will be permanent. Once zoning has been changed, the project could be significantly altered in ways that would not suit the surrounding communities. The neighbouring communities feel that there is a lack of transparency on the part of the NCC concerning their leasing process. The ARJT representative noted that the NCC made no effort to consult the communities around Moore Farm.
Moore Farm land was used for farming and the structures were built in phases but completed in 1910. Later, the farm would become an equestrian centre that was then gifted to the NCC in 1973. In 1991, the farm was designated a heritage site.
Photo: Concern of the neglect of Moore Farm put to rest as a new tenant signs with NCC to run event venue. (LR) Photo: Bulletin Archives, Olivier Pilon