Why NOT Georgina

On March 6, the nine York Region municipalities were told by York Region Chair Bill Fisch that York University was very interested in establishing a satellite campus in one of York Region’s nine municipalities.

We know that East Gwillimbury, Aurora, Vaughan and now Newmarket have expressed interest in becoming the host municipality and they are working feverishly to convince the decision makers that a campus in their municipality would make sense.

But where is Georgina’s pitch? We have just acquired a 32-acre lakefront farm formerly owned by the Sedore/Reed family and what better location for a university campus?

The spin-off benefits for communities with universities is enormous—the least of which is the economic development that goes with it.

Among a plethora other things, a university campus can contribute to the local area economy through its own capital spending, through the spending of its students and campus visitors. Each of these contributions will stimulate a ripple effect in the supply chain throughout the community creating even more value-added economic activity. 

As a business entity alone, a university campus has the potential to become the largest single employer in the area—again more economic activity. 

Let’s take a look at our position here—we’ve got the 404 extension, we have public transportation services, we’ve got growth targets up the ying-yang and we are sitting on a tourism gold mine.

But progress in the economic development arena is still the biggest challenge facing this town. It is no secret that a university campus could be a “made-to-order” solution. It’s even “clean” industry—which is one of the criteria we use when we go looking to encourage new businesses into town.

I cannot come up with a single reason why our council has not to jumped on this opportunity with both feet.

I’ve searched every council agenda since Bill Fisch made the announcement and it hasn’t even made the agenda—no mention of it, no discussion—NO NOTHING!

I had a conversation about Georgina’s lack of interest in putting forth a proposal with Helmut Kik recently and anyone who knows Mr. Kik knows that this is something that is near and dear to him. He has been advocating for a university in Georgina for years now. And no one is listening.

“It isn’t for me,” Mr. Kik, who is an octogenarian, says. “It is for the young people in the area so they can find decent jobs.”

Given the Town’s penchant for hiring consultants, this is one time I wish they would blow the bundle to bring in the expertise needed to put together a winning proposal.

 

Karen Wolfe, Editor

 

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