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$4 million to purchase school land in Chelsea

January 11th,2024 | Municipal News

Chelsea will put $4 million towards purchasing private and charity-owned land in the centre village to build a new French language school. 

In its triennial capital expenditure program (PTI), released in December, the municipality plans to spend $24.3 million in 2024 on public infrastructure, parks, equipment and essential services. 

Chelsea’s largest investment this year is $13.5 million for wastewater and drinking water plants.  The second largest amount – $5.5 million – will go towards “education and community purposes,” including purchasing land for a new school.  

In October, Chelsea council voted in favour of hiring a law firm to begin the process of acquiring four acres of land that belong to the non-profit Chelsea Foundation. The land includes a soccer field and parking lot, which were part of a purchase made over 20 years ago by members of the community. 

The municipality has said that, although the land belongs to a registered charity and is widely used by the community, it is under obligation by the local school service centre (CSSPO) to acquire the land. The municipality has said that CSSPO has deemed it the only viable location for a new elementary school, set to open in 2026. 

According to Chelsea Foundation president Fiona Duguid, the Foundation had the land appraised shortly after it learned of the municipality’s intentions. According to Duguid, the four acres in question were appraised at $3.2 million. 

“At this point, nothing has been confirmed regarding purchase, expropriation and other negotiation for this land from the [Foundation] for the municipality to use for the new school,” Duguid told the Low Down. 

The municipality is also seeking to acquire four plots of land along Chemin Relis, adjacent to the Chelsea Foundation’s land, belonging to developer Jacques Alary. The Low Down reached out to Alary but has not received a response.

Chelsea’s 2024 PTI includes $1.9 million for vehicles and equipment, $1.8 million for road infrastructure and safety, $1 million for parks and green space, and $100,000 for community access to the river. The total amount the municipality has committed to invest over the next three years is $57 million. 

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