College asks finance committee for new funding formula

Representatives of the Northwest Community College were among many speakers at a finance committee meeting in Kitimat yesterday.

From the Haisla Nation to the Tamitik Status of Women, lots of people pitched their needs to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services when they were here Monday night.

The bipartisan committee is on tour to gather public input to determine priorities for next year’s provincial budget.

The Northwest Community College’s representatives spoke first and had two main priorities for the committee: provide funding to upgrade their trades building on the Terrace campus and also to implement a funding formula that they say would be more effective.

They compared their funding formula to that of the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, a First Nations college-university which receives $14,100 per student, said Cathay Sousa, NWCC registrar.

The NWCC received about $10,400 per student. They say when applying the difference of funding for just their 41 per cent of the student body which are First Nations, the college is down $3,700 a student.

As for their Terrace building, Dr. Denise Henning, college president, said that they are looking to replace their building with a new one that is slightly bigger but, more importantly, up to code and able to provide modern training.

“We have a mice-infested, below-code facility that would require more than $5 million just to upgrade,” she told the committee.

The process of ‘futurizing’ the building would  allow them to install multi-million dollar simulators, equipment which simply cannot be installed in the current building.

When asked about what facilities the college has, in particular in Kitimat, Henning said the their Kitimat campus is “under-utilized”, but does have three classrooms and a computer lab. The campus currently serves about 50 students.

A round-up of all presenters is being prepared for next Wednesday’s Northern Sentinel.

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