Post-secondary programming at Nav Centre unaffected by province’s university decision

Post-secondary programming at Nav Centre unaffected by province’s university decision
Nav Centre in Cornwall

CORNWALL, Ontario – Queen’s Park announced Wednesday it will not be funding a slew of university expansions in Ontario, but the decision will not impact plans to augment post-secondary learning in Cornwall.

The government said Wednesday it will only fund an expansion of York University in Toronto, leaving proposals from Ottawa U, Carleton and others on the sidelines.

A plan is afoot to create a comprehensive aviation program at the Nav Centre in Cornwall through a partnership with Carleton, but a member of the steering committee eyeing working on the plan said Wednesday’s decision by the province means “nothing” locally.

“We are partnering with Carleton” not the province, said Tom Kaneb, a member of the local university steering committee eyeing the work. “Everyone knew they (the province) didn’t have any money.”

Officials with the steering committee have settled on creating so-called “niche programming” at the Nav Centre in the city that could offer an “air-traffic management” program that partners with Carleton.

Gary Brown, a director of international training at the Nav Centre, said the “dominos are lining up” to create a centre for excellence in flight training.

“Hitting the ground running with a program is relatively easy to do,” he told city councillors at a meeting recently. “Expanding that program will be (more challenging).”

City council has green-lighted a request to fund more work to study the feasibility of creating such programming at the Nav Centre, to the tune of $50,000. The money will likely come from working reserves, but will be repaid next year.

The committee is also getting $20,000 from the United Counties and $5,000 from private donors.

Such a program would be the only one of its kind in Canada.

“There’s a particular niche here that is probably unique, at least for Canada. You are within an international corridor in aeronautics and aerospace,” Marc Godbout, a senior director with Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, recently told council. “Universities are going to be knocking on the doors to find out how they can be part of that niche Cornwall has identified.”

The consulting firm is putting together a two-part study on the subject which will include a business plan and review.

Godbout’s agency will be doing outreach work within the aviation industry, and senior levels of government to drum up interest in the plan.

He added universities would be “very interested” in the proposal because of the research component of the niche programming being planned.

The Nav Centre offers teaching facilities, accommodations and technology, located close to aerospace giants in Montreal.

– With Seaway News files.

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