After a visit by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Scott Moe, La Loche Mayor Robert St. Pierre said he believes both levels of government truly care about moving the community forward.
At a special presentation at Dene High School this morning, Trudeau committed $2.2 million over five years to support cultural and language-based programs, traditional outdoor activities and mental health services for students. In addition to the federal government’s funding, Moe was also present to announce $3 million to support the construction of 12 staff housing units, which will be available to health and educational professionals to live and work in La Loche.
“I believe they truly care about moving us forward because they’ve spent a lot of time with us, and they certainly shown today that they are responding to our requests,” St. Pierre said.
Funding from the federal government will be spent according to Dene High School’s Holistic Healing Plan, which includes health, nutrition and fitness services, as well as upgrades to facilities. The plan also calls for new programming to improve the student experience and incorporate Indigenous languages and cultural programming into school activities. St. Pierre said the funding is spent will be well thought out and will provide supports needed at the school.
St. Pierre was also excited to learn about the upcoming construction of housing units to be built in partnership with La Loche-based Methy Construction and Maintenance. He noted it was based on a proposal the community put forward as it will create more living space for professionals in the region.
“We’re very excited to hear the Government of Saskatchewan is investing in our community on those staffing units, which is going to go a long way, especially with the health facility and educators who need housing,” St. Pierre said.
Northern Lights School Division Director of Education Jason Young also attended the announcements and said it was appropriate for Moe and Trudeau to make the commitments in person. Young mentioned Trudeau also had breakfast with staff and students prior to the presentation, adding the additional resources both leaders promised is much needed. Young anticipates the school division will be involved with La Loche and Methy Construction and Maintenance in utilizing some of the units.
“Given the tragedy we’ve gone through and for them to sort of acknowledge the audience and the community and staff, it was a great event and there’s been a lot of planning that has gone into this,” he said. “Now, it’s time to sort of move on and carry on with the work that needs to be done. Learning in classrooms needs to take place and moving forward to just allow these students to have a positive learning experience for the remainder of the school year. It’s all about moving forward.”
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