When it comes to ‘delivering best value’ business people understand strategic investments – the sacrifices and investments required for longer term benefit. The proposed $90 million for the Brampton-Ryerson campus sparked serious public and private sector investment interest including plans for new downtown housing, a Centre for Innovation and a Cyber Security Institute.
Leveraging this modest investment would have brought significant return on investment to our community. Discussions on developing new industrial research partnerships were underway. Downtown businesses were counting on increased foot traffic and customers for their stores. Teenagers and their parents were looking forward to having more choice for learning. The government’s decision to cancel this investment now brings new uncertainty to many of these plans.
“Minister Fullerton’s decision seems myopic. With so much waste in other parts of government, it seems silly that the target is put on stifling innovation. Universities are economic drivers. This campus is the catalyst for many complementary economic investments in our city. The ROI is undeniable. We fear that these complementary quality of life and innovative investments are now also at risk,” says Todd Letts, CEO of the Brampton Board of Trade.
Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy met earlier this month with the Brampton Board of Trade to discuss the state of Ontario’s finances. Representatives from Ryerson and Brampton businesses from the health and life sciences, advanced manufacturing, food processing and other sectors highlighted their challenges finding and developing talent for their companies. These representatives were united in describing how the Ryerson-Brampton project was an important solution for their business investment planning and for Ontario’s competitiveness.
“Cancelling strategic investments such as Ryerson-Brampton seems short-sighted. In our recent meeting with the Treasury Board President, our business community provided many tangible solutions to improve government efficiency and effectiveness. There was no hint of this project being in jeopardy. Cancelling the Ryerson-Brampton project seems to have come out of the blue and does not inspire confidence in the government’s decision-making.”says Letts.
Minister Fullerton’s release further states that “the government is committed to taking action to restore trust and accountability in the province's public finances.” The decision to cancel this project does neither.