Golden Francophone school gets conditional location

Golden Francophone school gets conditional location

Parents of approximately 50 eligible children have expressed a desire for Francophone education in Golden, and they may have found the right location for a new school, pending rezoning.

For more than a year, local Francophone parents have been working with the Conseil Scolaire Francophone (CSF) of B.C., looking into the possibility of opening a Francophone school in Golden.

Now that a conditional location has been decided on, the intent is to open a Kindergarten to Grade 4 school by September 2019.

In the official community plan, the subject property is designated as mixed use commercial, and a redesignation to recreational/educational is proposed.

The property is also zoned as mixed use commercial C2, and would need to be rezoned to community education and culture I2.

The potential location is currently the Bottle Depot and Golden Consignment, owned by Dusevic Holdings, Philip Dockerty, and Beverley Dockerty at 820 11th Avenue S. In the plans, the Parents Committee for a Future Golden Francophone School have outlined an outdoor play area, where the outdoor recycling bins are now, and a small gymnasium indoors.

The location is along the route that leads to other schools and recreation areas, and is a hub of educational activity in Golden.

Town council voiced some concerns over the location, given that it is situated on a busy street, and directly across from the liquor primary Dugout Bar and Grill.

In the council agenda, it also makes point that children don’t react as quickly, and are generally not as aware of impeding dangers like traffic on a busy street.

“Putting a school next to a liquor primary isn’t ideal,” said Phil Armstrong, Town of Golden manager of development services.

The Town of Golden Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 1406,2018 – Francophone was given its first reading at council.

In 2016, the census showed that there were almost 265 people, or four per cent, of French as a first language people living in Golden.

That number had increased by 30 people since 2011. The Parents Committee was formed to apply to the CSF to open a school in Golden.

The CSF school board operates 40 schools across the province, including schools in Fernie, Revelstoke, and Rossland, and has seen a 25 per cent growth in the past five years.

Last winter, the CSF agreed to open a school, if an appropriate location could be found. The Parents Committee had many conversations with School District 6, which operates the schools in Golden, and explored location options in local churches and commercial buildings. After months of searching, the most viable location is the Bottle Depot and Golden Consignment location. The CSF and the property owners have been nogatiating a long term lease that has been conditionally approved by the Ministry of Education.