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TRU office a vital service to Barriere community says Chamber president

More discussion requested regarding keeping TRU office open in community

To the Editor;

I do not normally find that the media is the way for discussion on changes in community services, but in response to your letter to the editor in the Dec. 24 issue of the North Thompson Star/Journal (TRU to continue education programing in Barriere), I felt that as a representative of the community and the President of the Barriere & Area Chamber of Commerce, we need to address some of our concerns.

I would like to point out to you and the public, the cost of rental space is less than $8,000 per year for T.R.U, but the economic value to the community far exceeds this.

The Chamber of Commerce has continued to accommodate T.R.U. throughout their presence in Barriere as we understand how important it is to have your university in our community. We understand the impact and the restrictions that COVID-19 has had on our community and the university and we appreciate that T.R.U is accommodating and supporting students moving into online courses.

In saying that, our outlying and rural areas are not adequately serviced with proper bandwidth. The residents who live outside of the District of Barriere boundaries have no other options or location to use high speed internet to do their online studies. Having your facility here, provides support to not only those students outside of the boundaries and the community, but also to the graduating students of Barriere Secondary School who are required to write their Accuplacer test before entering University.

This satellite office also provides a place for people to come and ask questions, enroll in courses, have exams proctored. We are also aware that some of our community members do not have access to computers or internet and therefore they prefer to speak in person to a Thompson Rivers University representative.

As the TNRD Area ‘O’ director I was at a “meet the new president” event that was held at the T.R.U. facilities. He was asked about the rural satellite offices, and his answer was that “these were vital to the operations of Thompson Rivers University”.

As a Chamber and community representative we feel it is important that T.R.U.s office remains open as it is a vital service to our growing community. We are open for discussion on how to support T.R.U. in this transition to ensure its continuing service to our community.

Thank you,

Bill Kershaw

President, Barriere & Area Chamber of Commerce

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