Funding comes through for C@P

Justin Dickie
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CUMBERLAND COUNTY - The 14 C@P sites in this area will stay afloat for at least another year.

Funding comes through for C@P

CUMBERLAND COUNTY - The 14 C@P sites in this area will stay afloat for at least another year.

Industry Canada and the Nova Scotia Office of Economic Development announced recently that they will continue to fund the Community Access Program through March 31, 2008.

"There was definitely the tone that there was going to be no more funding," said Cumberland C@P co-ordinator Steve Weatherbee.

C@P, a program that offers free public Internet access, was initiated in 1995 to make Internet more easily available. Weatherbee thinks that because more people have computers now, government figures C@P sites soon won't be needed.

"Before if you had a computer at home, you wouldn't need a C@P site, but now you have several users in the home that have to do homework (and other online activities)," he said. "We've been experiencing increases pretty much constantly over the 11 years. The usage is not going down, even though you might expect it would."

Donald Gillis, a fifteen-year-old from Amherst, goes to the C@P site at the Four Fathers Memorial Library frequently to talk to friends online. He has his own computer at home, but no internet. He said he appreciates the free access, but likely wouldn't miss it if it was gone.

Weatherbee said that site probably wouldn't shut down if government ceased funding anyway.

"A lot of sites that have partners, like the library, probably would not close in the absence of funding," he said. "There would be less services offered and older equipment and that sort of thing."

He remains concerned that federal and provincial government will eventually cut C@P sites out of the picture.

"Society as a whole has priorities, and now the priority is environment. So there's more money for that and less for other things," he said. "The squeaky wheel's going to get the grease and this program's been around for awhile and if someone doesn't scream for it and say we need it, it could easily be swept under the carpet.

Organizations: Industry Canada, Nova Scotia Office of Economic Development

Geographic location: CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Amherst

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