Lennox Island and Government of Canada announce expansion and upgrades to John J. Sark Memorial School: Canada

From: Indigenous Services Canada

October 26, 2018 — Lennox Island, Mi’kmaq Territory, PEI — Indigenous Services Canada

An essential component of a student’s education is having a safe and healthy place in which to learn. The Government of Canada is supporting First Nations students and their families through investing in new and upgraded school facilities that can meet their needs and serve as spaces to enrich educational experiences.

Today, Robert Morrissey, Member of Parliament for Egmont, announced an investment of $5.3 million for an addition and upgrades to John J. Sark Memorial School, as well as a new community emergency warming shelter. He made the announcement on behalf of the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services, and the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety.

Located in the Mi’kmaq community of Lennox Island on Prince Edward Island, John J. Sark Memorial School will be expanded to accommodate a kitchen, cafeteria, principal’s office, and health room. Upgrades to the existing building will also provide spaces for Mi’kmaq language and culture education, pre-kindergarten programs, increased building security, essential staff spaces, and additional storage. Indigenous Services Canada provided $4.5 million to support the addition and upgrades to the school.

In addition to new and upgraded spaces for students and faculty members, the expanded building will also include an emergency warming shelter for community members, which will include a backup generator, washrooms, storage space, and an expanded kitchen. The emergency warming shelter component is being supported by a joint investment of $800,000 total through Public Safety Canada and Indigenous Services Canada.

Work on the school addition and upgrades began in July 2018 and construction is expected to be completed by summer 2019.

“Our Government is proud to partner with Chief Matilda Ramjattan and the Lennox Island community on the expansion and upgrades to John J. Sark School. These upgrades will provide students with new and improved spaces to learn and grow, including through essential Mi’kmaq language and cultural education. We will continue to partner with First Nations communities across the country to support high-quality educational facilities that enable students to reach their full potential.”

The Honourable Jane Philpott, P.C., M.P.

Minister of Indigenous Services

“Weather-related natural disasters are getting more severe, more frequent, more damaging and more expensive. That is why the Government of Canada is investing in programming like the National Disaster Mitigation Program to lessen the impact of natural disasters to Canadian communities. By investing in the emergency warming shelter, we are providing residents of the island in high-risk flooding areas with a safe place to go and making the Lennox community more resilient and self-reliant in times of crisis.”

The Honourable Ralph Goodale,

Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

“I am very happy to see the school expansion is underway due to funding received from ISC. It is a very much needed space. We will have an additional office space as well as extra classroom space that will house K-4 and Mi’kmaq classes. The school will be fully disability accessible. We are also extremely happy to see the kitchen, cafeteria, and the warming shelter portion in progress. Thanks to ISC and Public Safety Canada for making this possible, the community of Lennox Island is grateful!”

Chief Matilda Ramjattan

Lennox Island First Nation

Quick facts

  • Lennox Island is a Mi’kmaq community located on the north shore of Prince Edward Island, approximately 45 kilometres northwest of the city of Summerside. It has a total registered population of 953 people, with approximately 389 people living on reserve.

  • John J. Sark Memorial School was originally built in 1981, and a two storey addition was constructed in 2001. Approximately 50 students from Kindergarten to Grade 6 attend the John J. Sark Memorial School.

  • ISC is providing $4.5 million for the addition and upgrades to John J. Sark Memorial School, which include a kitchen, cafeteria, principal’s office, health room, spaces for Mi’kmaq language and culture education, pre-kindergarten programs, increased building security, faculty spaces, and additional storage spaces.

  • The warming shelter is being funded through the National Disaster Mitigation Program (NDMP). The NDMP addresses rising flood risks and costs, and builds the foundation for informed mitigation investments that could reduce, or even negate, the effects of flood events. Each department is providing $400,000 toward the shelter, for a total investment of $800,000 from the Government of Canada.

  • The investment from Public Safety Canada for the warming shelter will be delivered through the Government of Prince Edward Island’s Infrastructure Secretariat.

  • Since the launch of the NDMP in 2015, the NDMP has approved funding for 273 projects across Canada that are helping to build safer, more resilient communities.

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