.Corp Comm Connects

Councillor wants to know economic benefits of Niagara College in Aurora

Coun. John Abel's second attempt for staff report outlining economic impact of Niagara College-Aurora Armoury deal shot down by council

June 4, 2018
Teresa Latchford

A second attempt to get a report regarding the economic benefits of hosting a post-secondary institution in Aurora has been shot down by council.

At a previous town hall meeting, Coun. John Abel made it known his intention to ask for council’s support in directing staff to present an economic-impact analysis report highlighting how the town will benefit from having Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute housed at the historical Aurora Armoury, which is currently under renovation.

“We’re not in a position to sink millions and millions into post-secondary unless we have the province,” he said, criticizing the town for trying to do this on its own without provincial dollars. “The province requires an investment strategy, and it has to do an economic analysis before you can apply for them to consider.”

He feels council should have a better understanding of the actual benefits the partnership will bring rather than just paying it lip service.

Coun. Harold Kim, along with many of his fellow councillors, felt the information and examples were already out in the public domain and he doesn’t want to waste staff time reinventing the wheel, citing a number of benefits other communities have listed as a result of housing a post-secondary institution.

Town chief administrative officer Doug Nadorozny insisted town staff did their due diligence when considering the impacts this partnership would have.

“Our negotiations with Niagara College, as this council is aware, was based on the actual American model that we saw appropriate level of investment for the return that we get over the full term of the lease that spoke more to the dollar costs and not subject the town to excessive amounts of subsidy to get that post-secondary institution here in the community,” he said.

Many councillors supported the idea suggested by Coun. Michael Thompson of having a third party conduct an economic-impact review should council decide to go down this path.

“If we want to track this project over the term of the lease, in order to look at how we can improve … I think that is something worth looking into,” Coun. Jeff Thom said.
Council voted against having staff present a business case