Francophone students and families in Burnaby are one step closer to having a permanent home with the purchase of a site for a future school in the Duthie-Union neighbourhood.
“It is so important that families who speak French as a first language have the opportunity to send their children to a francophone school that’s close to home,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education and Child Care. “I’m pleased to see the site is secured in a convenient, permanent location for Burnaby francophone children and families.”
The Government of B.C. has provided the Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britannique (CSF), B.C.’s francophone school district, with $24.5 million to purchase the former Duthie-Union Elementary site from the Burnaby School District.
“I am delighted with the agreement reached with the Burnaby School District to purchase the former Duthie-Union school. It is the result of several years of work by the CSF, with the support of the Ministry of Education, to find a site for a school in Burnaby,” said Patrick Gatien, board chair, CSF. “We know rightsholder parents in this community are eagerly awaiting the day when they will have a school to provide their children with a French-language education, and we look forward to taking the next steps toward the opening of that school in the not-too-distant future.”
The Ministry of Education and Child Care will work with the CSF to plan for a permanent francophone school for students on this site, while the Burnaby School District will be able to use the funding to advance its capital priorities and improve schools.
“I am proud of the work we are doing to support Burnaby francophone families with funds to create a French elementary school in our community,” said Katrina Chen, MLA for Burnaby-Lougheed. “We are taking significant steps to meet the growing demand for French-language education throughout our province, and I look forward to seeing more options for francophone families in the near future.”
The CSF has plans for an elementary school on the Duthie-Union site. The existing child care centre on the site will remain until it is able to be relocated to the new Burnaby North Secondary school, which is expected to open by the end of 2022.
“It was important to us as a board that the land remain in the hands of a school district providing public education,” said Jen Mezei, chair, Burnaby Board of Education. “We are pleased that with this sale, there will be a francophone school in Burnaby providing another learning opportunity for children and youth in our community.”
This investment is part of government’s work to ensure francophone students have certainty in their education by funding school site purchases that give families confidence that a permanent French school will be operating in their community under the ownership of the CSF.
Since September 2017, the Province has provided the CSF with $53.84 million for site purchases in Penticton, Kamloops, Victoria and Burnaby. The CSF will work to acquire school sites for francophone students throughout the Province.