Friday, October 2, 2015

New Lax Kw'alaams Academy to open today

School is in for Lax Kw'alaams with the much anticipated dedication day arriving for the new community school, the Lax Kw'alaams Academy.

Premier Clark and North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice are expected to be among those in attendance with Mayor Gary Reece, as the community celebrates the opening of the 19 million dollar facility.

A two storey facility that will provide classrooms from Kindergarten through to Grade 12 students, with room for expansion in the future. The official opening will bring to realization the goal of a new building that has been part of the Lax Kw'alaams discussion for close to thirty years.

Today's official opening will take place at 11 AM, followed by a lunch at noon and a celebration dinner later in the afternoon.

The anticipation of the opening was such that MLA Rice rose in the Legislature on Thursday to share the news with the chamber, providing an outline of the importance of the new school to the community:

A lot of eyes are on a First Nations community in my constituency. Lax Kw'alaams, also known as Port Simpson, is an area with worldwide attention on it right now. When you have high demand for this nation's land or resources, marine territory, it's very interesting for that community to have such attention paid to it, with an otherwise remote and ignored community. 

LNG development, Flora Bank, fishing rights and Lelu Island is a dominant topic, and it's created a lot of division in our communities around north coast. 

But there is one topic, one issue that has really united our community and the Lax Kw'alaams community, and that is the opening of their new school. 

 So I'm pleased to share with the House a special occasion for the Lax Kw'alaams community. Tomorrow I, along with, I understand, the Premier, will be travelling to the Lax Kw'alaams First Nation on north coast for the grand opening of their $19 million Coast Tsimshian Academy

This school provides classrooms for 26 kindergarten and 156 grade 1 to 12 students. The school is designed with a state-of-the-art kitchen and a layout that allows for large group gatherings. The school has seen increase of over 20 students, so having over 150 students this month alone. It has attracted a lot of adults wanting to go on to further their education. 

It's really not bad for a small remote community that only has a couple hundred inhabitants on it. Mayor Gary Reece explains that the school will play an important role in supporting the community's forces on education and skills development in youth. 

It will allow our children to learn and grow within our community while preparing them for a future where they can make a contribution to our economic goals. So I'm standing here today. I'm sincerely pleased for the people of Lax Kw'alaams for having built their new school. 

The old school was built in 1955 when construction standards were non-existent, and it had a creek running through it. It's a big day tomorrow, and I'm happy to share that with the House.

The full address to the Legislature can be found below:

Some background on the New School Building for the Coast Tsimshian Academy can be found from the Lax Kw'alaams website, the overview features a particular note as to the importance that the new building will have for the entire community.

You can also discover more about the school and the preparations for today from the Coast Tsimshian Academy Facebook page.

For more items related to developments with Lax Kw'alaams see our archive page here.

For further background on the work of MLA Rice in Victoria see our Legislature Archive here.

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