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Time running out for public Internet centres

John Thompson
Northern News Services

Sanikiluaq (Mar 28/05) - The cluster of computers inside the school of Sanikiluaq is one of the few access points to the Internet in the community.

The site is funded by the federal Community Access Program (CAP), which pays for computer and video equipment, as well as the wages of youth interns like Sarah Qavvik and Darlene Kavik.

Qavvik, 21, used the centre's video editing software to make movies about fish-skin dolls and friction fires, which have aired on the community television.

Kavik, 20, built a website called najuqsivik.com that promotes local businesses.

The CAP site also lets elders stare each other in the eyes across great distances, thanks to teleconferencing software that lets them share stories and memories about old times.

Funding for the program is scheduled to stop at the end of March next year, and both interns say they're worried what will happen if more funding isn't found.

"It would be horrible if they don't keep it," Kavik said. "A lot of people ask, 'When is CAP on?'"

CAP administrators have begun a petition that calls for the government to continue funding.

"We're doing everything we can to flog it to the government to not stop funding," said Darlene Thompson, an administrator for the program in Pond Inlet.

The campaign has begun now because it takes time for government to secure more funding, Thompson said.

"We can't wait until March next year," she said.