The Authier-Nord school will be closed permanently

The Authier-Nord school will be closed permanently

L’’l’ Authier-Nord will be permanently closed

The Bellefeuille school in Authier-Nord, in Abitibi-Ouest.

The verdict is in: the Authier-Nord pavilion of the Bellefeuille Elementary School will remain closed.

The board of directors of the Center de services scolaire du Lac-Abitibi (CSSLA) adopted a resolution to this effect during its meeting on May 23. The pavilion will be permanently closed from July 1.

For the CSSLA, more students were needed to provide quality educational services in a safe environment. With only about ten registrations, from the 4th to the 6th year, the pavilion was already closed this year and most of the students are educated at the Macamic school, located about twenty kilometers from; Authier-Nord.

“We see that the number of students continues to decrease in the Authier-Nord sector and there is no new arrivals, in any case, not enough to allow us to believe that we could keep this pavilion open permanently. »

— Isabelle Godbout, Executive Director of the CSSLA

The director general of the Center de services scolaire du Lac-Abitibi (CSSLA), Isabelle Godbout. (File photo)

Following the filing of the notice of intent in March 2022, the CSSLA had given itself until this spring to find a solution with the community. Various avenues were discussed and investigated, but none proved conclusive.

Despite the discussions we had, it is clear that it is always the same problem that comes up. It is not easy to bring in new students. This is really how the maintenance of the school would go. So, we came to the conclusion that there was no project that could increase the school population permanently. So we had to make the heartbreaking decision to proceed with the permanent closure, explains Isabelle Godbout.

The mayor of Authier-Nord, Fernand Major, admits to understanding the decision of the CSSLA, with the low level of registrations and the difficulties in setting up a childcare service for families.

“Of course for a small municipality, this is not easy to accept. The vitality of a small parish, when the school is closed, brings us additional challenges to keep our young people at home. »

— Fernand Major, Mayor of Authier-Nord

But Mr. Major continues to believe in the future of his small community of 300 inhabitants.

We still have young families. We also believe that our municipality will continue to attract families. School transport has been organized to accommodate the return of students, to reduce travel time. With everything that is in place, it is still acceptable, he argues.

The village of Authier-Nord. (File photo)

Now that the decision to close the school permanently has been made, the CSSLA must consider the future of the building located in the middle of heart of the village of Authier-Nord. Some premises are currently used by the Municipality.

We are going to enter into talks with the authorities of the Ministry (of Education), who will guide us in the alienation of the pavilion. In the coming months, the next few years, we are going to get rid of the pavilion. It is certain that we will eventually have an offer for sale that will be made. I already know people who might be interested in using it for other purposes, for community purposes. It is clear that the pavilion will not be abandoned. It will certainly have an interesting second life, believes Isabelle Godbout.

According to Mayor Major, the Municipality does not have a crying need for new spaces. However, he says he is ready to discuss with the School Service Center and to study all the options with his municipal council.

We will see if we have a project at the municipal level. Maybe there will also be interested promoters, he says.