The recent layoffs at Wilfrid Laurier University remind us that post-secondary education is very much an industry. Given these layoffs, it’s time for Brantford, Ontario to have another look at the Laurier-Y proposal.
Some deep-thinkers in Brantford provide us with compelling reasons why this is nessessary. Mr. Rick Wright raises important points (full article here):
– Brantford hasn’t learned or has forgotten the lessons learned from the over reliance on one industry, i.e., farm implements.
– The generous use of taxpayers’ dollars to create new post-secondary education facilities still leaves us wanting for people qualified to fill current job requirements. (Brantford now has less skilled trades training.)
– “The post-secondary industry employs and educates few true locals, pays no tax, and demands ever-grander infusions of cash, buildings, land and renovations.”
– The number of students needed to sustain the current Laurier-Y proposal may not be attainable. (It is a satellite campus after all.)
– Governments have promoted these types of projects “based more on runaway emotion than sound logic.”
Mr. Gerry Van Dongen view makes us ask:
– Why does a city think that the best way to deal with a spending problem is to raise taxes, and/or acquire more land for development?
– With the extremely generous giveaways of cash, buildings and land to the post-secondary industry, why does Brantford have a “situation where tax revenue is minimal in comparison to money spent?”
– Why are we over dependent on government to fix derelict commercial sections of a city?
– Why not sell the south side of Colborne St. to a developer so that the city can recoup the millions of taxpayer’ dollars spent to demolish the former commercial buildings, and generate new tax revenue for the city’s coffers?
As The Expositor stated on 23 January 2008, Brantford’s downtown “needs attractions, stores, businesses (like The Expositor was at the corner of Dalhousie and Queen Sts.) and apartments that bring people to the city’s centre,” particularly those that don’t need copious amounts of concessions.
Since Brantford’s spending problem was only marginally addressed in the 2015 budget process, a redo of the Laurier-Y proposal is an opportunity to continue to correct course. Let’s remember that Brantford has a plethora of properties with athletics complexes in various states—three in the city’s centre. The city (including students) would benefit as a whole if the potential of these existing properties was fully developed (in a fiscally sound way, of course) and used to their full extent.
The result: RESPONSIBLE ECONOMIC ACTION.
The “site preparation” underway on the south side of Colborne St. has more to do with what that area needs than what may or may not be built there.
This involves two jobs:
1) The replacement of a wastewater trunk line is a needed watermain upgrade;
2) Colborne St. was destablized after the south side buildings were torn down. A retaining wall is long overdue to shore up the street.
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