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The community's vision for a new school in the central peninsula can be seen in this architectural rendering. Image: Submitted/Envision Saint John

N.B. willing to work with Saint John on community hub

By Brad Perry Apr 6, 2023 | 5:00 PM

New Brunswick’s education minister is hinting at possible funding for a community hub at Saint John’s new central peninsula school.

The province announced plans in December to build new schools in the north end and central peninsula, which are set to open in the fall of 2026.

The four existing schools have community hubs which brings additional early learning, after-school, parenting support and poverty reduction programming into the schools, which are in high-priority neighbourhoods.

But those programs could be in jeopardy after city council was told Monday that the Department of Education does not fund additional space for this type of programming and services.

RELATED: City seeks funding for community hubs in new schools

Council unanimously endorsed a $14-million plan for expanded hubs at the new schools which would increase the number of early learning centre spaces to 226, add 60 more after-school program spaces, grow the South End Community Centre, and add programming space in both neighbourhoods.

Funding for that will have to be sought through other government departments or the community at large, according to city staff.

Council also voted to send a letter to the premier asking the province to finance and build the community hubs due to the “unique needs children and families face in Saint John.”

In a statement late Wednesday, Education Minister Bill Hogan said the province looks forward to collaborating with the city to create a “targeted high-priority community strategy” to support the Central Peninsula Community Hub.

Hogan described the model as a “first-of-its-kind pilot opportunity to address community building and the wrap-around support services that are crucial in high-priority neighbourhoods.”

The strategy, he said, would provide funding to work in partnership with government departments, municipalities and community partners to “deliver key interventions that will generate invaluable education and social outcomes and support population growth for one of the province’s hardest-hit neighbourhoods.”

Hogan made no mention of the proposed north end community hub.


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