Twenty people attended Envision TRU’s public consultation meeting held at the Pioneer Complex on Tuesday, March 9 to discuss issues and concerns for the local campus’ future in the lakecity.
Envision TRU was launched in March of 2019 to “create a vision for the university’s next decade” and began with phase one, which consisted of consultations revolving around broad topics from March 1 to June 30. Tuesday’s meeting marked the beginning of phase two where they move from broad concerns to specific topics at meetings and consultations that will be held from now until Sept. 30.
Phase three, meanwhile, will last from Aug. 1 to Dec. 16 and will consist of input on top themes the community has expressed.
Phase four and five will follow in 2020 and will culminate in Envision TRU’s final priorities and final vision by April 30, 2020, that will influence TRU’s policies and courses for the next 10 years moving forward. As such, TRU wants as much as input from the community as possible and is calling upon students, faculty, stakeholder groups, individual citizens and local civil servants to come out and share their opinion.
On Tuesday Mayor Walt Cobb, MLA Donna Barnett and Williams Lake City Councillor Marnie Brenner were all in attendance along with a cross-section of concerned citizens. Chief among the concerns expressed initially was the availability of seats for locals at TRU programs.
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Some of those who spoke felt that people from outside the community, from places like Vancouver, often come to the TRU campus in Williams Lake for post-secondary and then return there upon completion, taking their skillset away from the lakecity.
They felt that this could prevent locals from learning these skills and robs the community of a possible professional.
Barnett agreed with this sentiment and said there needs to be more efforts made, especially with the nursing program, to ensure that more locals are taking courses at TRU Williams Lake campus and keeping their skillset within the community.
This led to people including Brenner inquiring as to how TRU or the local government would go about ‘reserving’ a set amount of seats in program strictly for locals. A discussion was also had on how to provide more opportunities for Indigenous Youth to attend post-secondary.
A common sentiment by many seemed to be that in recent years the TRU campus in Williams Lake has received the “leftovers” from the main TRU campus in Kamloops.
In an online article, the Tribune published prior to the consultation the theme of retaining qualified nurses in the lakecity area emerged again, with many calling for TRU to offer a full four-year nursing program.
Many also wanted various other programs or diplomas to be extended to full four-year degree classes, as befitting a university.