Video: Jennifer Rice celebrates the opening of new school in Lax ka’alaams

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J. Rice: 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 issue that’s really united our community and the Lax Kw’alaams community, and that is the opening of their new school.

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 grades 1 to 2 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 an 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 Garry Reece explains that the new 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 am 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 nonexistent, and had a creek running through it.

It’s a big day tomorrow, and I’m happy to share that with the House.