NEWS
03/21/2016 23:32 EDT | Updated 03/22/2017 01:12 EDT

Manitoba First Nation waiting for report on asbestos in school

EBB AND FLOW FIRST NATION, Man. — People living in a Manitoba First Nation community are waiting for an independent engineer's report to determine if it's safe for their kids to return to class.

Asbestos was discovered crumbling from the ceiling in a classroom in Ebb and Flow First Nation School about three weeks ago.

The community, about 230 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg, has a population of 1,400 people.

More than 700 students have been displaced since the asbestos was first noticed by a school custodian at the end of February.

Band council declared a local state of emergency and students have been moved to makeshift classrooms.

One company did not find any signs of asbestos and determined air quality was within safe occupational health limits, while a second found vermiculite containing asbestos in the school, but said air quality was within acceptable occupational health limits.

Darcy Houle, Ebb and Flow's fire chief and emergency co-ordinator, said no one will be allowed back inside the school until a professional says it's safe.

"Whenever a door slammed, it (asbestos) kind of crumbled down," said Houle. "We got an engineer, an independent engineer from Dauphin, to come and assess the whole building and see what has to be done and repaired."

Sherri Shuttleworth has four children attending the school in Ebb and Flow.

"I'd like to know it's safe, because apparently there's confusion whether or not it is safe to go back to school there. We don't really know right now," Shuttleworth said.

Ebb and Flow Chief Nelson Houle said safety is paramount and wants to wait for the engineer's report before anyone goes back inside.

"It's all about safety with the kids," said Houle. "The kids come first."

Darcy Houle said the engineer's report is expected to be ready this week.

(CTV Winnipeg)

 

The Canadian Press