Capilano University teacher asks Squamish council for support 

Drastic budget cuts required to balance budget

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A member of the Capilano University Faculty Association has reached out to Squamish Council, passionately asking for support as programs at the campus in Squamish face budget cuts.

Susan Leblanc, an adult basic education (ABE) math teacher for the last 10 years at the university, gave the members of council an update on the current budget crisis. She noted that the budget cuts originally proposed called for funding to end for the ABE program at the campus in Squamish.

According to Leblanc, half the students enrolled at the Squamish campus are registered in ABE classes. She added that waitlists are common.

"The Squamish Campus has the sole supervised science lab accessible to adult learners this side of North Vancouver serving Mount Currie, Pemberton, Whistler, Squamish, Britannia Beach and Furry Creek," said Leblanc.

The adult education teachers asked the Squamish council members to consider being part of a constituent delegation — an ad hoc committee made up of community members who support the university and are prepared to work on the university's budget issues in the long term.

The council members voted to join the ad hoc group and to invite the Capilano U leadership to meet with council to further discuss the budget issue at the school.

"I think it would be worth respecting the relationship we have with the leadership at Capilano University that we approach them and have a conversation with them," said Mayor Rob Kirkham.

A university budget advisory committee is accepting feedback on the issue at the university until June 10.

The CapU leadership has reported that it is attempting to balance the 2013-14 budget without cutting programs so the next year can be spent consulting ahead of next year's budget.

Previously the university had announced it was looking at making $1.3 million in cuts that included cutting the ABE program in Squamish.

According to information posted on the university's website, operating costs continue to face inflationary pressures and the transition from a college to a university resulted in some increased costs. Operating grants for the school have reportedly remained flat.

Telus announces future investment

Squamish council was pleased enough with a recent announcement from Telus that it voted to send the company an acknowledgement letter. The telecommunications company announced on May 29 that it plans to invest $2.5 million in its Squamish infrastructure to enhance its wireless and broadband Internet coverage in Squamish.

Lisa LaMothe, the Telus general manager for the region, said in a letter to council that the reach and speed of advanced wire line and wireless broadband services will increase. She noted that the investment will improve 4G wireless cellular service, high-speed Internet service and Optik TV.

According to LaMothe, Telus employs five people in Squamish and the company paid more than $163,000 in municipal and business taxes last year.

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