FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman says that talks are progressing on allowing Northern Lights College to offer a nursing school program in Energetic City within the next couple of years.

Mayor Ackerman said that the City has been helping to champion the formation of a nursing school in Northeast B.C. since the City suffered from a severe doctor shortage several years ago. She said that the City has since had talks with the Ministry of Advanced Education about the program, but that the various stakeholders like the College, UNBC, and Northern Health were not bringing a unified message to the provincial government.

Ackerman said that members of Council met with officials from those various organizations last week on the proposed school. She said that the current proposal would be for an Accelerated Baccalaureate Program which would give priority to students from Northern B.C.

At the meeting, it was announced that NLC would be making an official proposal to UNBC and the provincial government to get the program approved. Ideally, the program would see 16 enrollees in its first year, which would take place in Fort St. John as the college does have the ability to expand, and the Fort St. John Hospital is equipped with classrooms as a teaching hospital.

Ackerman said that once NLC is given the go-ahead it would take another two or three years before the program is up and running. She added that the City is expecting to hear back from the provincial government later in February or March on the proposal.