Nunavut francophone association struggling with debt

Nunavut's francophone association won't close its doors, but it has begun to sell some of its property to try to make up $750,000 in debt.

Organization won’t close, but is selling some property to battle $750,000 debt

Nunavut’s francophone association won’t close its doors, but it has begun to sell some of its property to try to make up $750,000 dollars in debt.

The organization is selling a duplex and a fourplex it owns. It is also cutting its staff and many of its services.

Eric Cormeau, president of the francophone association, said they are selling two of the organization's buildings in order to try to make up about $750,000 in debt. (CBC)

"The biggest barrier at this point is to see off those buildings. As soon as we sell off those buildings, that’ll be resolved and we’ll be able to move forward in a little bit of a light," said Eric Corneau, the president of the organization.

Corneau hopes the buildings will bring in $400,000 each.

Many of the students at the École des Trois Soleils attend activities hosted by the francophone association.

Serge Gagnon, the school’s principal, said there haven’t been any activities for the past little while.

Serge Gagnon, principal of the École des trois soleils in Iqaluit, said the organization is integral to many francophone students' lives. (CBC)

"For the past month, we didn’t know – are they going to close, are they going to stay open?" he asked.

He said he expects activities for his students to dwindle in the upcoming months.

"We thought to have again this year a summer camp, but I believe we won’t have it," said Gagnon.

The organization has also established an external committee to help keep the Iqaluit centre open. The association blames its massive debt on internal management problems.

A new volunteer board has formed a committee to help keep the centre going, which many see as a vital part of the French community.

"Because we have one French school and going over there – it means, for us, it’s not the only place we speak French. There are more places and we have activities in French that we don’t have at school," said Gagnon.