OTTAWA – ATTAWAPISKAT – It has been a long time coming. However today, John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development announced that his department has set aside funding over the next three years to accelerate progress on the detailed design and construction phases of a new elementary school for the Attawapiskat First Nation.
“Ensuring that students in Attawapiskat First Nation receive a quality education is a priority of this government. Investing in education is key to preparing youth to make a successful contribution to their community, and more importantly, to ensuring they have a future full of opportunities,” said Minister Duncan. “Our government is taking action and is working with all parties to accelerate efforts to build a new school in the Attawapiskat First Nation.”
“I am pleased to see the Government of Canada is delivering on its promise to strengthen education in our community,” said Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence. “This new school will help our youth to obtain the skills and knowledge they need to grow, flourish and be active members of their community,” she continued.
The First Nation, in partnership with the department, is responsible for managing all aspects of this project, including tendering and selecting contractors. A project of this magnitude requires diligent efforts from several parties. Funding had already been allocated in Ontario Region’s First Nation Infrastructure Investment Plan for the next three fiscal years starting in 2011-2012 and all parties had agreed on such a work plan. This front-end investment aims to accelerate the completion of the project and see the opening of the school by 2013.
The government and the First Nation are working together in a partnership to accelerate the design and construction of this new 5,808 square metre elementary school. A three-phase work plan has been developed to build the new school: a School Capital Planning Study for which more than $113,000 has been allocated; a detailed design phase; and a construction phase.
The Attawapiskat First Nation is located on James Bay approximately 220 kilometres north of Moosonee, Ontario and has an on-reserve population of approximately 1,815 people.