Downtown (hearts) Fanshawe
IMPORTANT UPDATE: I have heard that the Downtown London business association is making a considerable investment that makes the proposal going to council a new one, which means it will go before full council. It’s more important than ever to let the councillors know your support!
I was in a meeting today where several concerned business owners and members of our business community gathered to discuss what could be done to ensure Fanshawe College opens up the full 2,000 student campus in our downtown core.
Again, from my understanding, the initial Fanshawe plan was:
- Phase 1 — bring 400 students downtown ($10 million investment from City)
- Phase 2 — bring 600 additional students downtown (a further $10 million from the City)
- Fanshawe realized with the Kingsmills opportunity that the Phase 2 could be expanded from 600 to 1,600 students because of the size and location of the building.
- Expanding to 1,600 students would require an additional $1 million per year for 10 years from the City’s existing commitment (for $10 million total over 10 years)
Here are a couple of quick reasons why I support this — several of these facts can be found in a great summary by Emerging Leaders here.
- In Brantford, students bring $6,033 per student per year to the downtown core by way of economic activity. At an additional 1,600 students that’s $9.7 million in additional economic activity downtown (for $1 million / year invested, I call that a good ROI!)
- Fanshawe is planning to bring several programs down town in centres of excellence including it’s culinary arts and IT programs; this brings the students do the core where a lot of future employment can be found.
- The total project is some $86 million is my understanding and the remaining $56 million that is not from the City of London is leveraged from both Provincial funds and Fanshawe funds.
In summary, we are going to be bringing the highly skilled workers of tomorrow downtown, they are going to bring $9.7 million per year of economic activity AND we are going to have $86 million of “shovel ready” construction projects in our downtown.
What’s not to love?
Unfortunately, the City Council voted it down (well, technically it was a 7–7 tie but a tie is a loss). We, the citizens of London, have an opportunity to respectfully request that the City Council re-opens the issue and gives more time to the due diligence and understanding of the project. We are hoping that the City, the businesses community downtown, the College and the Kingsmills family may still be able to work together to make it happen.
It’s a long shot. But it’s worth taking. There will be other people smarter than me that will talk about what needs to happen to get council to reconsider the matter, but I am asking people to get involved. I have talked to so many people who are upset about the council decision — those voices need to be heard.
So if you are a citizen of London who is frustrated, please consider calling, writing or emailing your councillor or all councillors who voted no. We will need to change some minds. To make it easy for you, here are the councillors who voted against it: Bud Polhill, Bill Armstrong, Joe Swan, Stephen Orser, Paul Van Meerbergen, Denise Brown and Sandy White. Dale Henderson was absent for the vote, so it wouldn’t hurt to contact him, too.
Here is how to contact them: https://www.london.ca/city-hall/city-council/Pages/default.aspx
Please consider contacting these councillors to let them know you want to see Fanshawe and the 1,600 other students brought downtown.
PS — if you disagree, you should call them too I suppose — that’s democracy! ☺