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Chelsea Foundation blindsided by council’s ‘fait accompli’

March 26th,2024 | Letters

The Editor,

I refer to Chelsea council’s decision regarding both the construction and the placement of the new school in Chelsea, as recently reported in the Low Down.

In the normal course of events, when it comes to matters of municipal expenditures, council studies the question in committee. Then, the councillor responsible for the committee tables the minutes at council, makes a recommendation, and makes a notice of motion for its adoption. At a subsequent council meeting, the motion is debated in public and either adopted or rejected. In this case, it appears that council blindsided the Chelsea Foundation by presenting it with a fait accompli.

It is important to know that the school service centre, the CSSPO, is a regional bureaucracy that decides where the students will come from for a school in Chelsea. As it is hoped, most of them will probably come from Chelsea. It is also important to realize that the CSSPO will own the school site and not the municipality of Chelsea.

Council alleges that the children will be able to either bicycle or walk to the new school. For the sake of safety, let’s just say that this will be the exception rather than the rule. 

Council states that it chose the less costly site of the soccer field rather than another one, which would have incurred infrastructure costs of $1.5 million and a delay in construction. A comparison of the compensation for the costs and land value of either site is impossible. For the Chelsea Foundation, council offered to purchase the soccer field for the maximum amount allowed by the Quebec government and negotiate for additional compensation in kind. Apparently, council is still negotiating with the private owner to acquire the alternate site, but for what purpose?

The Chelsea Foundation is justified in asking for full compensation and not to bear the responsibility for council’s decision by ceding its land to the CSSPO at less value.

André Renaud

Chelsea, QC

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