NorthWest Community College will be laying off two part-time workers and closing its Masset campus on May 11.
“This is not strictly a budget decision,” says Beth Davis, Vice-Principal of Education. “The college is clearly not meeting the needs of the community. For some reason the place was not attractive to people. Many people in Masset seem not to have known we were there.”
“The college has had a presence in Masset for seven years, and this is our sixth location. We’ve never found a proper place to operate,” says Ms Davies. The last location in the officers’ mess of the old DND building opened in fall of 2001. The campus has a classroom, computer lab and offices.
The computer lab is well used by drop in users, says Ms Davies. NWCC tried to start an adult upgrading program and a business technology program, but results were disappointing, says Ms Davies. The Masset campus has had some successful programs. They ran a five-month Forestry Technician program and a Coastal Adventure Eco Tourism program.
The college is funded on the basis of the number of students it enrolls, and it’s hard to justify a presence in a place where there’s only a handful of students, says Ms Davies. In recent years, NWCC has also downsized in Houston and Kitimat. Stewart has a very token presence. It’s hard to provide services in small, remote communities, she says.
NWCC will not completely pull out of Masset. Ms Davies says she hopes to work with community groups and Community Futures to see how to sustain a more appropriate service in Masset. If a need for a program is seen and enough students enroll, the college will hire instructors and rent a location in order to run the program.
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