Cochrane consequently toured the three current campus communities of Yellowknife, Fort Smith, and Inuvik, hearing particularly from Fort Smith residents concerned at the potential loss of Aurora College’s headquarters and subsequent economic impact on their town.
The territorial government’s response to the review, delivered in October, accepted the recommendation to launch a polytechnic university and partly assuaged Fort Smith’s fears by kicking any decision about a “main campus” down the road – while suggesting all three campuses would be preserved.
Cochrane is now seeking residents’ input on the government’s response, which essentially set out a series of plans, documents, and evaluations which must take place before any of the most serious decisions about a future university can be made.
The territory’s response envisioned a gradual shift from Aurora College to a polytechnic university, retaining 2024 as an aspirational but not definite date for the completion of that transformation.
Cochrane’s opening public meeting in the latest tour takes place in Inuvik on Wednesday evening, from 6pm till 8pm at the local college campus.
A new public meeting in Yellowknife will be held at the Chateau Nova Hotel from 6pm till 8pm on Friday, November 16.
And Fort Smith will have another chance to discuss Aurora College’s fate with the minister on Monday, November 19, at the recreation centre from 6pm till 8pm.