NWCC cutbacks

The Northwest Community College’s Houston campus is in trouble, council heard from Coun. Dawn Potvin last Tuesday at their regular meeting.

The Northwest Community College’s Houston campus is in trouble, council heard from Coun. Dawn Potvin last Tuesday at their regular meeting.

Potvin noted that while cuts have been across all NWCC campuses, but Houston is suffering greatly because staffing cutbacks and loss of programs could mean the closure of the Houston campus.

“I believe we’re close to crisis mode,” she said. “They have laid off some of the office staff, some of them went down to part-time, and they’re moving the workplace training from Houston to Smithers.”

“For a campus our size, it could effectively close our campus, quickly.”

However, NWCC spokesperson Heather Bastin noted that there are no plans to close the Houston campus, and all staff in the Smithers and Houston campuses have been offered “continuing or alternative employment with the college” to mitigate layoffs.

She said that the NWCC’s budget has decreased this year because of a weak resource economy,

“The reason for cuts was more about downturn in the economy, so sectors around mining and natural resources and programs of that nature,” said Bastin.

Bastin added that the downturn has

affected contracts where the NWCC hosts courses for companies.

Potvin wants a dialogue with the president of the College when he comes to Houston for an April meeting.

“We want to meet in the council chambers, mayor and council, to just discuss the impact of their decision, what they’re succession plan is and where the rationale behind moving the training to Terrace,” she said. “I know … it’s a budget thing, I’d like them to bring their budget to show us the Houston numbers so they can explain what’s happening.”

Potvin feels concerned of the loss of the College because she feels the school provides an integral service to the community, especially during downturns such as when Houston Forest Products closed.

“It’s kind of getting overlooked, it’s sometimes seems like Houston’s campus is an afterthought and it doesn’t feel very nice.”