Tuesday evening the Ministry of Training & Colleges announced that it would no longer be funding Brampton’s university campus, but there may be a solution to ensure Ryerson comes to Brampton after all.
Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities said in a statement that the government would be “willing to consider a business case for how these projects may proceed in the absence of provincial funding,” which means the project isn’t completely dead.
Councillors-Elect in ward 1/5 — Paul Vicente and Rowena Santos — are proposing use of the city’s $150 million in funds currently earmarked for a downtown innovation centre.
Last September council approved the $150 million towards an innovation centre and central library to be built in conjunction with the university. Vicente and Santos are suggesting the money be used now to rescue the university.
In an email to Mayor-Elect Patrick Brown, the two stated that after phone calls with Ryerson University that the university “continues to look to Brampton as a significant location for expansion.”
The email was also sent to the President of Ryerson, Mohamed Lachemi, Bampton South PC MPP Prabmeet Sarkaria, Minister of Innovation, Navdeep Bains an councillors Gurpreet Dhillon and Martin Medeiros, who sat on the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Panel to bring the university to Brampton.
The two plan to work with the new council to propose a reallocation of the innovation centre investment towards capital costs for the university.
Ryerson’s eventual plans were to build an urban campus using the same model it’s utilized in downtown Toronto. The selected area is in a section of downtown Brampton that falls into ward 1/5.
As councillors in the ward, Vicente and Santos want to ensure that the plans to build the university continue as scheduled. Ryerson is expected to open its doors by 2022 to approximately 2,000 students.
Santos and Vicente also suggest Brampton should look to its federal counterparts for help in funding the Ryerson campus.
“Ryerson is an important partner in helping us build a brighter future for our city. Brampton residents have been waiting for too long for this opportunity. We will work diligently to come up with a viable fiscal solution to ensure the university is built,” the two say.
As part of the plan, the city would approach the provincial government for a commitment to provide per-student funding once the university opens in 2022.
While the City of Brampton has already started doing some of the work for the innovation centre, the proposed solution could possibly work.
Such a large re-allocation of funds will have to be voted on and approved by the new city council. Most of the incumbent and new councillors have been largely supportive of the university, though Brown has expressed his displeasure about the size of the campus on a number of occasions.