First Nation threatens to shut Edmundston school on leased land
A dispute between the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation and the provincial government could disrupt the start of classes at an Edmundston high school in September.
The Madawaska First Nation owns about half of the land where the Cité des Jeunes school is located.
The First Nation has been leasing the property to the province, but a five-year deal has run out and Chief Joanna Bernard has refused to sign a new one.
If the government wants a new lease on the school property, it will have to build highway access ramps to other property owned by the First Nation, Bernard said.
The First Nation wants to develop land in the area and needs the access ramps constructed.
"I've been pushing economic development in the community and we need those ramps in order to attract the businesses to lease the property off the highway for commercial purposes," Bernard said.
Bernard said the government was first told the First Nation wanted the ramps off the Trans-Canada Highway five years ago, and since the Liberals came to power in 2006 she has met once with Premier Shawn Graham and about four times with Transportation Minister Denis Landry.
"It's time for them to ante up," Bernard said.