Lake. St. Martin students close to hitting books again

Students from Lake St. Martin had high hopes but didn't get back to class in their temporary Winnipeg school on Monday.
Lkke St. Martin students could soon be back to classes at their temporary Winnipeg school. (CBC)

Students from Lake St. Martin had high hopes but didn't get back to class in their temporary Winnipeg school on Monday.

Confusion around the permit means 68 students, who have been out of school for two weeks, were still out for at least another day.

The building that houses their temporary school was shut down by city inspectors on Nov. 5 because of fire code violations.

The First Nation had been renting space in the building, a decommissioned junior high school on Ness Avenue, and using it for Kindergarten to Grade 9 classes.

The building is now up to code, and a release sent by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs late Monday said Lake St. Martin now has an occupancy permit for the school.

That means students can return to classes there as early as Tuesday morning.

Flooded-out reserve

The Lake St. Martin reserve, located in the Interlake area about 280 kilometres north of Winnipeg, was evacuated in May 2011 due to severe spring flooding.

The federal government had been covering flood evacuees' food and lodging expenses, but some people's benefits were cut off earlier this year after their claims were deemed to be ineligible.

While some found other places to live, including a temporary village set up by the province — a decommissioned military radar base near Gypsumville off Highway 6 — others remained in Winnipeg as their children had already started attending the school.

Meanwhile, the province is still looking for a more permanent location for the band members, whose reserve has been deemed inhabitable due to the flooding damage and future risks.

But many refuse to move into the interim village. They are demanding land in an area between the communities of Grahamdale and Moosehorn, Man., for their new community instead.

Many are worried that if they move into the temporary location, they may be stuck there and never get a permanent community with proper infrastructure or amenities.