The Conseil Scolaire Francophone school district has announced the Francophone school in Golden is set to open in September 2019 with more than 30 students already enrolled. Photo Submitted

Conseil Scolaire Francophone welcomes more than 30 students to new school in Golden in September

The Conseil Scolaire Francophone (CSF) has officially announced the opening of a Francophone school in Golden for September 2019, and registration is open to Canadian children of Francophone origin.

Golden’s Francophone school would be located at 820 11th Avenue S. A public hearing was hosted by the Town of Golden in November to rezone the building from commercial C2 to community education and culture I2. A first reading was passed at that meeting, and it has been given its second and third readings to this point.

The bylaw has not yet been adopted, as town council waits for a traffic impact assessment for the area, which will address hazards and make note of necessary crosswalks, signage, and speed limits for the neighbourhood.

“In areas where children are, we thought we would take a bit of time to look at a traffic safety plan and take that back to council,” said town planner and manager of development services Phil Armstrong. “Once something gets second and third reading from council, then there’s a level of confidence there.”

The building, owned by Dusevic Holdings Ltd., Philip Dockerty, and Beverley Dockerty, has been undergoing renovations to prepare for classes.

The bottle depot has been relocated down the street to 916 11th Avenue S., and the Golden Consignment Store is no longer in the building.

The renovations have basically stripped everything from the insides, and owners are optimistic that the building will be ready to host students and classes in September.

“It will be nice when it’s done, it will be like a new building,” Darren Dusevic said.

The CSF stated on their website, www.csf.bc.ca, the school will welcome more than 30 children into Kindergarten to Grade 4, and in years to come the school will expand annually to include students to Grade 7. The new school in Golden will operate with the l’ecole des Glacier a Revelstoke (Revelstoke Glacier school), and provides public Francophone education.

Canadian citizens living in B.C. have the right to have their children educated in a Francophone education program so long as the parent’s first language learned and still understood is French, they received their primary school instruction in Canada in French (not including French immersion), or their children have received or are receiving primary or secondary school instruction in Canada in French, also not including French immersion. The rights adhere to Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

When parents in Golden began working with CSF to get a Francophone school in town, there were only 17 registered students. That number had grown to include children of more families now that the school is officially moving forward.

Having a Francophone school in Golden could attract more French Canadian families to the area, and promotes Canadian culture and diversity.

The CSF is a publicly-funded school board that operates across British Columbia. To have a French school, the community must have a significant number of children interested in attending to get funding from the Ministry of Education. French parents went to the CSF, which decided they had enough interested students with 17 kids enrolled for September 2019. That number only accounted for about half of the eligible students in Golden, and is already growing as the school establishes itself.

Town council is expected to make a final decision on the bylaw amendment in a couple of weeks, as soon as the traffic impact study is completed.

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