City Offers Killarney Lake Park, Facilities in Support of Wolastoqey Land-Based Immersion School

The City of Fredericton has committed to supporting the preservation of the Wolastoqey language, culture and history by offering access to two city-owned facilities for the establishment of Kehkimin, a Wolastoqey Land-Based Immersion School. Kehkimin School will be the first of its kind to be located in Fredericton.

The decision follows a presentation by the Wolastoqey Grandmothers about the declining number of Wolastoqey speakers and the need to immerse young people in the language before it is lost.

In response, Fredericton City Council voted unanimously in favour of an arrangement that would see the Kehkimin School established at the Killarney Lake Rotary Lodge for the first year of its operation. The school will use the ground floor meeting rooms for in class learning initially and then move into a City-owned vacant house, near the Lodge parking lot, for another four years, with the option to renew for one more year.

The City is happy to support the Kehkimin School and proud to have played even a very small role in its establishment,” said Mayor Kate Rogers. “We are committed to seeking out and acting upon opportunities that support truth and reconciliation actions with the Wolastoqey Nation and to helping with the preservation of their language.”

There are currently fewer than 100 fluent Wolastoqey speakers, most of whom are 65 years or older, and represent one per cent of the Wolastoqiyik population.

Additional Information:

  • Kehkimin is pronounced “gak gee min”.
  • The school will use the ground floor meeting rooms at Killarney Lake Lodge from August 1, 2022 through to June 23, 2023 for $1. The lost revenue from renting the meeting rooms publicly, estimated to be $30,000, will be offset by the City’s First Nations Relations budget.
  • Starting in the second year, the school will move to the vacant City-owned house next to the lodge parking lot, which was acquired by the City 13 years ago to allow for future expansion of parking near the park.  This arrangement will commence on June 2, 2022 and run for a period of four (4) years and 1 one month, expiring on June 30, 2026. There will be an option to renew the lease for an additional one (1) year period. The rent for the term of the agreement will be $1.
    • To prepare for the school, the City will replace the roof of the house and repair a crack in the foundation. The school will be responsible for all renovations to the building needed for the school’s operation and will cover the cost of all utilities associated with the operation of the school. Base Gagetown has committed to assisting Kehkimin with the original demolition work as part of the buildings retrofits.
  • The agreement also recognizes the school will access the Park for educational purposes.
  • The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action 14 (i) states that “Aboriginal languages are a fundamental and valued element of Canadian culture and society, and there is an urgency to preserve them.”