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$13M for temporary Eabametoong school

By Adam Riley Feb 17, 2024 | 3:30 PM

Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu says a temporary school is coming within a tight timeline for Eabametoong First Nation.

Last month a structural fire resulted in the destruction of the John C. Yesno Education Centre.

An investigation into that fire has yielded a number of charges against four teenagers from the community.

Hajdu says a meeting with community leaders and members of Mattawa Tribal Council allowed her to confirm financial support of $13 million to bring a temporary replacement school.

“The work has to happen really quickly to get some modular units on the ice road to clean up the site of the school and to make sure students are well positioned for the fall.”

Additionally, Hajdu was able to confirm work has begun already and credits both Eabametoong Council and technical experts at Mattawa who were able to get a detailed quote.

She says it now is up to a matter of capitalizing on the winter ice roads that remain, noting there is contingency funding for any kind of airlift which may be required to support the transfers.

Luckily, Eabametoong was already in the process of designing a new school, which will continue and this commitment will not impact the funding of that project.

While the units may be a temporary measure to get students back in class, they will become a permanent fixture of sorts for the community, as Hajdu has also confirmed the units will be owned by Eabametoong First Nation.

“They are very flexible, these are modular units that could be used for overflow, they could be used for housing, they could be used for temporary staff that fly in and out for a variety of different reasons, they could even be used for administration space.”