You don’t have to be terribly old to remember that the GTA started “after Mississauga” when taking the 401 from western Ontario. Now, from this humble perspective, it starts near Milton.
And, it’s creeping towards Cambridge!
So, I recall that it seemed to make sense when this news came out.
I remember all the plans I had to make when deciding to go to university. From my perspective, the University of Western Ontario was on Western Road. The University of Waterloo was this campus with lovely green space just off University Avenue. Wilfred Laurier University was at the corner of University Avenue and King Street in Waterloo. When I moved to Essex County, the University of Windsor was what you drove through to get onto the Ambassador Bridge or to Riverside Drive. St. Clair College was strategically placed just off the 401 as you entered Windsor. Everything was well planned and you could get from faculty to faculty or department to department in a reasonable length of time.
But, things change, and universities and colleges have outgrown their traditional location. We now see faculties and departments located in facilities beyond the traditional home of the university and, like the cases in the announcement above, moving to new cities. The university benefits from increased enrolment and visibility in other communities and you’d like to think from more new community involvement.
It seemed so progressive.
So, it was with real disappointment that I read this announcement this morning.
Elementary and secondary school closing and amalgamation have been a reality in the province for a number of years. Done in the name of efficiencies, around here community and rural schools have been closed. These include a town’s only secondary school and students are now bused to another community. As I talk with friends around the province, it’s a common theme outside the GTA.
I think that the rationale involved – usually the number of students or the age of the school can be grudgingly accepted.
I’ve got to believe that the planned post-secondary institution building was based upon a demand for their service. You can’t believe that it would be responsible to build a campus that will not attract students. So, consider the fallout:
- loss of construction jobs
- loss of teaching and research jobs
- increased costs for students to move to a different school
- overcrowded buildings and university classrooms
- students potentially leaving Ontario or Canada in search of a program
The good news is that the province is willing to discuss a business case that will allow the projects to go ahead provided it doesn’t include provincial funding. I hope that the universities are up to the challenge and are successful.