New University Funding – Three Card Monte at its Best


 

3 cards monte.jpg

David Trick, PhD published a very interesting paper on the actual costs involved in building a new university for the Research and Planning Branch Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities and made the last revision to this very detailed report on September 15, 2014. (http://www.davidtrick.com/resources/SEG.Capital%20Costs%20of%20Selected%20Postsecondary%20Campuses.Report.sep152014.pdf)

Dr. Trick’s extensive study focused on the last two universities built in Canada (UNBC and UOIT) in addition to details on several “community” colleges as well as satellite campuses of existing universities.

Canada does not build that many universities and therefore the findings of Dr. Trick are more than a little bit troubling.

The recent hoopla by Ontario’s troubled government concerning a “commitment” of “up to “$180,000,000 is both good news and bad news. (http://www.citynews.ca/2016/10/26/new-university-campuses-to-be-built-in-brampton-milton/) .

While there is little doubt that Brampton (with an estimated population of over 600,000) can easily support at least one (maybe two) post-secondary schools; given the current liberal government’s waste, corruption and bad habit of boondoggles, there is plenty to worry about.

Before criticizing the messenger for “bad news”, Brampton homeowners and rate payers need look no further on how the Liberal government operates.  One need look no further than the “former” Peel Memorial Hospital.  Brampton’s current and projected population similarly begs for adequate and equal treatment in terms of hospital beds available.

I frequently read projections of Brampton’s population exceeding 900,000 in short decades ahead.  Surely, those new potential residents deserve much better than exposure to near-criminal activities  and wastage by a government that has lost its moral right to govern around the time that the infamous ‘’gas plant scandal (2011) was caused in order to assist the current Treasurer of Ontario in his quest for re-election.

Taxes are very high in Ontario.  Similarly, soaring electricity costs are emptying the bank accounts of residents and chasing employers away and into better places to do business.   Those job losses hurt families.

 

Peel_Memorial_Hospital_demolition_SAM_1360.jpegWhen Brampton Civic Hospital made its first attempt to open (2007), for a few milliseconds, Brampton briefly had two hospitals.  Instead, this current Liberal government tore down Peel Memorial Hospital with promises to immediately set about rebuilding it.  Who can ever forget that the extensive Liberal managed public relations scam determined any number of deficiencies that logically could be associated with a 100 year old structure.  The truth (though) was that a very large part of the demolished Peel Memorial Hospital (PMH) was less than 50 years old and was NOT the property of the Ontario government.  It had been built and endowed by gifts and donations from the general populous including residents of Brampton, surrounding regions such as Caledon as well as local businesses.

dhillon pmh
Brampton Lib MPP showing how to build

Everyone knows how that sad-saga ended.  Brampton home-owners took it on the chin (financially) to finance a large part of the planned “hospital rebuild” by way of a special levy on property taxes to cover off about $60,000,000 shortfall in government funding.  The rubric “that’s the way we fund hospitals” apparently had MUCH different meanings in MUCH smaller communities that have more hospital beds than Brampton.

When the dust settled, there was actually no hospital.  In a masterful game of three-card-monte , Brampton received an oversized walk-in medical clinic with zero beds.

It is fool-hearty to trust in or rely upon the current government to treat Brampton residents fairly.  I cast  VERY LARGE amount of blame for that on Brampton’s Liberal members of the legislature who (seemingly) are too timid to advocate for their  home town at the caucus table.

Thus, the notion that a pledge by the Liberals at Queen’s Park to commit $180,000,000 for two new universities (one in Brampton and one in Milton) is almost laughable – but certainly insulting.   Look at what Dr. Trick told this same government in his report:

The Study Reveals Real Costs

Dr. Trick and his associates discuss and analyze the two newest universities built in Canada: University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) built in Prince George British Columbia in the mid 1990’s and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) that was built in Oshawa and opened in 2003.

The Actual Cost of UOIT

UOIT-CAMPUS-web-1-634x312.jpgThe total cost of construction, including land, was $589.5 million (2012 $), including leases of $13.7.  Do the arithmetic, fellow home owners.  You deserve a university and you also still deserve a hospital.  Do you actually trust the present Ontario Liberal government to undertake any construction project beyond the scope of a garden shed?

Somehow, as if by magic Ontario’s sad-sack Treasurer is playing with numbers.  Anyone who believes that the Liberals can fund TWO universities for $180,000,000 needs mental help.

Divided equally, Brampton and Milton would/could each receive about $90,000,000.  Think about it.  Construction costs are not declining.  The latest “tax grab” AKA Carbon Tax will certainly not reduce the cost of anything.

The actual cost of the Peel Memorial “WALK IN “clinic according to Ann Ford, Osler vice president of development, Ford would not reveal the dollar cost. But construction on phase one was initially pegged at around $420,000,000 million. (Brampton Guardian, March 25, 2014).

Want more? The new, 126,000-sqaure-foot city hall building is costing local taxpayers $205,000,000 million.  Sadly, no one will EVER know the real or reasonable cost for that ugly structure as the players on city staff are long gone and the courts are still sorting out law suits.

The Actual Cost of UNBC

unbc-maclean-s-rankings.jpegThe total cost of the University of Northern British Columbia The total cost of construction, including land, between 1991 and 2012 is $572,000,000 according to Dr. Trick’s report to the Ontario government.

I offer the number solely for statistical comparisons on contemporary university construction costs.

If you cannot see a sucker punch aimed at you, I suggest (respectfully) that you reach for smelling salts.

Obviously, the two most recent universities built in Canada (UOIT @ $590 MILLION and UNBC at $572 MILLION) cost a great deal more than the $180 MILLION offered up by Wynne et al!

A Wise Person would be Kicking Tires

Can the combined tax revenues of Ontario fully fund hospitals and universities?  Should the Province be making such investments towards the future of Ontario residents? 

I would say, unequivocally YES.  But, given the embarrassing legacy of scandals the valuable resource of tax funding has been squandered and cannot now be applied to worthwhile projects such investments in health care and post-secondary education.

We have an election – thankfully just around the corner in 2018. The disapproval rating for the present deplorable sad-sack Liberal caucus is now almost below 10%.  You and I will (hopefully) see a new government in place by the summer of 2018 – just over 12 months away.

Logic and common sense dictates that the prudent thing to do is test the waters with the other two parties and determine their platform on funding versus wanton/scandalous waste.

Don’t rely on unelected clubs and cliques to do your thinking. Ask questions and demand answers. At the end of the day, your votes created this mess. 

There is NO harm in waiting out this present government and hopefully a change in government at Queen’s Park will drain a very stinky swamp.

I say, Ms. Wynne and Mr. Sousa, if you can build two universities for $180,000,000 – have at it!

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Copyright   Thunderbird Rising 2017

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The above article is copyrighted.  You may use, copy or distribute this article conditional on attributing your source (Thunderbird Rising) and the author (Lloyd Fournier)

 

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One thought on “New University Funding – Three Card Monte at its Best”

  1. It can’t be done. Period, full stop. I’m still paying for our glorious walk-in clinic and really don’t feel like paying through the nose….in other words my house taxes….for a university!! Especially after we discovered that smaller towns had a hospital built in their backyards with no outlay on their taxes!!! Fool me once shame on you…fool me twice…shame on me!!! And I won’t be fooled twice by the lieberal government now in power!!!

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