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by Isabel Mosseler

The Municipality of West Nipissing is facing a lawsuit from the Conseil scolaire catholique Franco-Nord, after the town stopped providing free services to Ste-Marguerite d’Youville school in Verner. The issue came to light at the November 6 meeting of council, when CAO Jay Barbeau informed that the town had been providing snow removal, garbage collection and some lawn maintenance to the school at no charge and decided to stop doing so, whereupon C.s.c Franco-Nord cited a previous agreement and threatened to sue.

“They threatened to take us to court… saying we have an agreement, that we can’t find… We received a Statement of Claim seeking $9,000 in damages and an evaluation of what garbage and snow removal would be on a seasonal basis… The gist of it is that the school board has launched a lawsuit,” Barbeau explained.

In 2017, council had resolved to stop providing the services, which predated amalgamation in 1999, since the town does not provide these to other schools in the municipality.

Mayor Savage commented, “I find it disappointing… the service has been ongoing since amalgamation – look at the dollar value that has been provided… This is the only school [to which] we were providing this service.”

Coun. Rolly Larabie also expressed disappointment in the school board, adding “My position is still the same – we do it all or we do nothing at all.”

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School board sues town over loss of free services