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Great Northern Peninsula towns express frustration over CNA cuts in St. Anthony

College of the North Atlantic in St. Anthony
College of the North Atlantic in St. Anthony

The Great Northern Peninsula joint council is presenting a united front in response to recent cuts at College of the North Atlantic’s (CNA) campus in St. Anthony.

CNA announced this month seven programs across the province would no longer be offered this year due to lack of enrollment, including the construction/industrial electrician course at St. Anthony.

Joint council chairman Mayor Gerry Gros of Anchor Point said the loss of the program and three jobs with it adds to an already frustrating year for the region, which has been hit hard of late with cuts in the crab and shrimp fisheries also announced in the past few weeks.

“Over the past few months our region has been dealt more economic blows than we thought possible,” he said in a news release.

Flower’s Cove Mayor Keith Billard pointed out three of the 11 non-contractual positions cut across the province were from the region, representing more than a quarter.

Billard said he feels the region has unfairly “once again been singled out and shut down.”

St. Anthony Mayor Ern Simms said sees the cuts as yet another attack on rural Newfoundland and Labrador.

“To post a false cut-off date on applications to justify what has been done is criminal and shows lack of respect for students and staff alike,” he charged.

Mayor Dale Colbourne of St. Lunaire/Griquet, meanwhile, said the joint council is calling on provincial Ministers Christopher Mitchelmore and Gerry Byrne – MHAs for the region – to work closely with the college and community to reverse the decision.

“If we are going to be successful along the Great Northern Peninsula, we need more investment not more cuts,” he said.

Roddickton-Bide Arm Mayor Sheila Fitzgerald said the job losses and negative economic repercussions of the cuts on the region are a source of major concern.

“I am worried about the future of our young people and families residing here in rural and remote communities on the Northern Peninsula,” she said. 

“Removing such opportunities for post-secondary education from the area will mean more of our young people as well as individuals seeking further education will have to leave their homes, their families and their communities to go elsewhere.” 

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