Repairs and replacements for community learning centres need to be a higher priority, said several MLAs to Patterk Netser, minister responsible for Nunavut Arctic College, on Monday.
Netser presented the college’s $10.6 million proposed 2020-21 capital budget for approval in the legislative assembly.
The largest single allotment – $8.5 million – will go toward ongoing construction of the new Kitikmeot campus building in Cambridge Bay.
While some MLAs lauded that initiative, they urged the minister to fix eight community learning centres in various communities, some very old, some overcrowded.
Aggu MLA Paul Quassa pointed out that the regular MLAs made that concern clear during last year’s budget cycle.
Netser replied that he only took over the Nunavut Arctic College portfolio in June.
“I informed the staff that we would look into the local facilities, and our priority should be replacement facilities,” Netser said, adding that Grise Fiord and Whale Cove have new buildings. “When the government is making capital estimates, there’s usually quite a large request being made to our department and we can’t satisfy everybody.”
Quassa, who said some facilities are in such poor condition that safety could be an issue, insisted the minister and his staff should quickly finish visiting the learning centres in every community to assess the structures.
“I want you to work a little bit more diligently,” he told Netser.