The choice of land for the new elementary school is based on specific articles of the law on public education

March 11, 2024

Constructing a new elementary school is a direct investment in the education of our children, who are our most precious asset. The new French elementary school in Chelsea is set to open in September 2026.

In 2026, nearly 300 children from Chelsea, ranging from kindergarten to 6th grade, will benefit from this learning environment situated in the community's heart and within walking distance of their homes.

In 2023, the Centre de services scolaire des Portages-de-l’Outaouais (CSSPO) requested the Municipality to present all lands within the urban perimeter with an area of more than 25,000 square meters and serviced by the water supply network. The land would also need to meet several other criteria. Building a new school takes time and planning, and in this particular case, tight deadlines. Therefore, municipal employees worked hard to provide land proposals that meet the required criteria so that in 2026, the children of Chelsea do not have to travel several kilometers to attend school.


The choice of land on which the new elementary school will be built is based on specific articles of the law on public education.


What the Section 272.10 of the Education Act states:

272.10. Where the area identified in the planning of the space needs of the school service center is included in the territory of a single local municipality, that municipality must transfer to the school service center an immovable located in that area that conforms to the characteristics set out in the planning within two years of the planning taking effect.

Subject to the third paragraph, where the area delineated for the purposes of space planning falls within the territory of more than one local municipality, these municipalities must jointly determine which municipality is to dispose of an immovable, and the choice must be approved by the council of each.

 There all the municipalities referred to in the second paragraph are in the territory of the same regional county municipality, the council of that municipality shall determine which municipality is required to dispose of an immovable. The school service center and the municipality required to dispose of an immovable may, in accordance with the by-law made under section 452.1, agree on a time limit other than that provided for in the first paragraph, and on the disposal of an immovable that is not located in the planning area.

They may also, with the Minister's approval, agree to the transfer of a building that does not conform to the characteristics set out in the school service center's space requirements plan. The Minister approves the transfer after consultation with the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Regions and Land Occupancy and any other minister concerned.


In accordance with sections 272.2 et seq. of the Education Act, a school service center may now require a municipality to transfer real property to it, free of charge, for the purpose of building or expanding a school or a vocational training or adult education center.

  • land that meets several criteria to ensure the proper siting of school infrastructures and a healthy, safe environment for students.

These criteria are grouped into four main categories:



The first concerns the characteristics of the site so that it can accommodate the school infrastructure.

Here, we're talking about the right amount of land for the school or center, depending on its size, and the building's civil infrastructure supply.   The land must be large enough to accommodate not only the building to be constructed, but also the schoolyard, bus landing and parking area. The Ministry of Education has clear requirements for determining the surface area of these functions. In addition, the availability of civil infrastructure (water, sewage, and public roads) is essential to avoid delays in the delivery of the school, especially if it is in a developing sector. 


The second involves environmental characteristics, notably the presence of harmful contaminants or endangered species of flora and fauna.

As mentioned above, the presence of contaminated soil is not appropriate for the construction of a school or children's center. That's why land acquired by school service centers must be contaminant-free, and not have been used in whole or in part as a waste disposal site. This feature avoids delays in decontaminating the land, as well as significant costs to the school infrastructure budget. The site must not constitute the habitat of a threatened or vulnerable species of fauna or flora, to meet Quebec's regulatory requirements in this regard.


The third is the physical characteristics of the land.

This refers to the absence of wetlands and specific soil constraints, such as a flood zone or landslide-prone area.  The construction of a school or center requires stable, high-quality soil for an infrastructure of this scale. Otherwise, pile foundations or other means of soil stabilization will be required, increasing the project budget. It is also important that the site is not located in an area prone to flooding or landslides, to ensure the safety of occupants throughout the lifetime of the infrastructure. Also, the legal requirements of the Environment Quality Act (chapter Q-2) for wetlands must be respected to ensure environmental protection.


Finally, the last section deals with development features.

Schools and centers will have to be located within urban perimeters to ensure accessibility.    Schools and centers are important living environments and places of identity for all young people in Quebec. They must therefore be located close to residential areas within the municipality's urban perimeter. This proximity will facilitate access to infrastructure in line with healthy lifestyle habits, by encouraging active transportation (walking, cycling, public transit).



Based on these criteria, the Municipality submitted several lots, and our choice was lot 2 924 027. However, this lot did not meet the Ministry's criteria and therefore could not be selected. CSSPO's choice, based on the various criteria, is therefore the land currently selected.

It's important to understand that the Municipality's hands are tied, and that it must provide all lands that correspond to their list of criteria and the choice of land is the responsibility of the CSSPO. 


As stipulated in the first paragraph of article 272.10, if the municipality has not transferred an immovable to the school service center by the end of the period, the school service center may itself acquire an immovable located on the territory of this municipality in the area delineated in the school service center's space planning, at the latter's expense. The characteristics set out in the by-law must also apply to such acquisitions.


Ref: Mémoire au conseil des ministres - Gouvernement du Québec

Édiction du Règlement sur les autres conditions et modalités applicables au régime de cession d’un immeuble par une municipalité locale à un centre de services scolaire en application de l’article 272.2 de la Loi sur l’instruction publique – Partie accessible au public.

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