In the story ‘Burns Lake releases impact study’ published in the Lakes District News’ Nov. 4, 2015 issue, the Village of Burns Lake had released an impact study showing the far reaching consequences of the cutbacks at the College of New Caledonia (CNC).
The study, prepared by Peak Solutions Consulting Inc., projected a loss of 70 direct jobs, a significant reduction in programming including a 75 per cent cut to enrolment, and a loss of $3.7 million in employment revenues within the community.
In a recent interview with the Prince George Citizen, CNC’s president Henry Reiser said the approach to which the data was looked at was “not as accurate as it could have been.”
The CNC board then sent a statement to the Prince George Citizen refuting some of the findings in the impact study.
According to the CNC board, when projecting a loss of 70 direct jobs, the impact study includes staff of programs that are not annual course commitments. Therefore the college says those jobs shouldn’t be counted as cuts.
“It should be noted that soft funded programs or one-time programs should not be counted as job losses because they are not really reflective of stable ongoing employment realities,” says the CNC statement. “Soft funding varies from year to year depending on the economy, local events and other government initiatives.”
Burns Lake Mayor Luke Strimbold said that what the college calls ‘soft funded programs’ were programs funded year over year by grant funding, industry initiatives, and other programs. Therefore, they should have been considered in the impact study.
“The CNC [board] has not counted these [jobs] among their figures because ‘they are not reflective of stable, ongoing employment realities’ when, in fact, these positions have been consistently funded for over 10 years, some for over 25 years,” said Strimbold.
“This is why the independent contractor who completed the study included these figures in their report,” added Strimbold.
The CNC board has made a series of cutbacks to address a deficit of $2.8 million in its 2015/16 operational budget. Back in April 2015, the CNC board decided to transfer the family programs offered in the Lakes District to other community agencies.
The announcement of which agencies would take over the contracts of the family programs was expected by the end of January 2016. However, the B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development still hasn’t selected which agencies will take over the contracts.