Alberni and NIC talk lands for expanded JI courses

Alberni city officials have broached the idea of NIC making land available for the Justice Institute to expand its course offerings.

It’s slow going for a plan to establish a Justice Institute satellite campus in Port Alberni.

City economic development manager Pat Deakin apprised councillors of the initiative at their Monday meeting.

Deakin, Mayor Ken McRae and Coun. John Douglas met with North Island College president Jan Lindsay about the idea in August.

At the meeting, city officials broached the idea of the college making land available for the Justice Institute of B.C. to expand its course offerings on the Island.

JI staff just started teaching a primary care paramedic course at the Port Alberni NIC campus in August.

Lindsay wasn’t available for comment. NIC spokesperson Susan Auchterlonie confirmed the meeting, saying it was cursory only with further discussion to be had later.

The college has reviewed the covenant it entered into with the city when the land was originally donated and have determined that all obligations in it have been fulfilled, Auchterlonie said.

Douglas estimated that the city donated 20 acres of land to the college, and that there are approximately 15 acres still undeveloped.

“We’d like to be in a position to offer land to build a facility,” Douglas said. “It would be nice to have in the hub that’s growing there.”

There may be a potential snag in the plan.

The Roger Street location NIC sits on was sold to the college for $1 by the city in the early 1990s and was built and occupied in 1995.

Now, however, college and provincial policies specify that even if the land was donated it must be sold at fair market value.

The proposal may yet be consummated, but only if the course offering doesn’t compete with any existing courses or programs.

“She (Lindsay) can go to her board then apply to the ministry of advanced education,” Deakin said about getting an exemption.

Further discussions will be had with the college, Douglas said.

The city is also meeting with the Ministry of Advanced Education at the Union of B.C. Municipalities meeting to discuss the initiative at the end of the month.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com