MN-S hopeful for possibilities of former Rivier Academy

(Herald file photo)

The Metis Nation-Saskatchewan has passed some hurdles in taking possession of the former Rivier Academy in Prince Albert, but there are still more steps to come.

City Council passed a discretionary use permit at their meeting on Monday and the Prince Albert Catholic School Division has expressed support for their plans for the former site.

In a statement to the Daily Herald, the MN-S said that they are hopeful about the possibilities that a facility like 1405 Bishop Pascal Place might provide.

“We have not passed the condition removal phase of the transaction and are currently conducting due diligence and awaiting the outcome of condition reports, inspections, and other vital details,” the statement reads. “Our Métis Nation–Saskatchewan government looks for opportunities to build capacity across the province to improve our communities’ well-being, including Métis cultural and educational projects.”

MN-S sought council’s approval for a permit to use the facility as a private school, public assembly, catering service, childcare centre, health clinic and office.

The building was home to the Blessed Marie Rivier Catholic School which was closed in 2017 due to low enrolment with students moved to Ecole St. Mary High School.

In 2018 Saint Joseph Developments outlined plans for a development at the complex, which never happened.

In 2019 the Ministry of Education announced the possibility of using it for Conseil des Écoles Fransaskoises (CÉF) students. The Société Canadienne-Française de Prince Albert (French-Canadian Society of Prince Albert, or SCFPA) was concerned in 2021 and 2021 as the plan had not moved forward. In 2020 the province announced that it had commissioned a third-party business plan for the concept.

The Fransaskois community of Prince Albert and its partners, including seniors groups, École Valois Parents Council and staff, Métis community members and francophone school board representatives, worked on a business case pertaining to the purchase of the former Rivier Academy as requested by the Minister of Education.

The city’s French community has outgrown École Valois and former community centre. It’s inadequate to meet the expectations and needs of parents, students and other French-speaking citizens, including newcomers, with respect to the educational, sporting, economic and cultural potential of the community, a release stated.

The building was listed for sale by the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary in August, 2020.