North Island College president John Bowman released an interim report, Nov. 24, regarding pay parking, which was implemented at the Comox Valley campus this term, but the North Island Students’ Union is not satisfied with the findings.
In a press release distributed last week, the NISU stated the changes “don’t address the concerns raised by the campus community.”
“The changes outlined in the report don’t address a single concern that has been raised by students, faculty, and staff on the Comox Valley campus for the past eight months,” said NISU spokesperson Sheldon Falk. “On top of being charged new and higher tuition fees this year over last, the new parking fee on this campus makes the cost of education unaffordable for many returning students.”
Bowman pointed out that the interim report is as it suggests, and does not discount the possibility that the subject be revisited after a full school year of assessment takes place.
“While the majority of the concerns raised were addressed by measures outlined in the President’s interim report and action plan on pay parking, it is important to note that further considerations and possible actions may be taken next year after we have more information and have been through a full yearly cycle,” he said.
(See end of article for pdf copy of interim report in its entirety.)
Prior to this fall semester, the Comox Valley campus did not charge for parking, but with the increased traffic flow in the area, due to the hospital construction, Bowman said action had to be taken, to ensure the parking spaces were not being used by hospital workers or (in the future) visitors.
“While the hospital doesn’t officially open until 2017, there have been hundreds of workers on the construction site and those numbers are expected to increase as the project nears completion. Therefore, it was necessary to implement paid parking to ensure spaces would be available for students and employees,” Bowman said.
Included in the November report are sustainability initiatives such as a covered bike parking area, as well as a minor reduction in the cost for a semester pass for students (there was no reduction offered for employees).
“The concerns of cost, inequality amongst college campuses, and hospital parking were inadequately addressed by this report,” said Mary Rickinson, NISU chairperson. “The reduction in the semester was a paltry $10, and was required to bring rates in line with VIU’s parking fees—the absolute least the College could have done.”
“North Island College remains the best value for your educational dollar on Vancouver Island, and is still one of the most affordable post-secondary institutions in B.C.,” replied Bowman.
–With files from NISU