Laurier satellite campus on hold for Ontario review before proceeding

If a Wilfrid Laurier satellite campus goes ahead, it would provide hundreds of millions of dollars in potential new contracts. (Toronto Star)

Wilfrid Laurier University will wait for new provincial directions on satellite campuses early next year before it presses on to develop a new site in Milton, a fast-growing city near Peel Region.

“It’s expected that the government will come up with that (policy) in the next couple of months,” Brian Rosborough, Laurier’s director of government relations, told YourMississaugaBiz.com.

“We will work through that process to put forward a detailed proposal for a Laurier campus in Milton.”

The campus has been planned for two years and has come up in the Liberal leadership race, with Mississauga South MPP Charles Sousa backing the idea.

The local politician, who calls himself the “Jobs Premier,” has committed to the Milton project and two other universities within months if he wins the leadership race at the end of January.

A key thing in the Ontario review is how communities and universities would work together to decide where satellite campuses would be built.

If such a satellite campus goes ahead, it would provide hundreds of millions of dollars in potential new contracts for builders, engineers, architects and other local companies.

Such a campus would also attract Peel Region and foreign students, and help train skilled new workers badly needed by Mississauga’s pharma, specialized manufacturing and technology companies.

Satellites aren’t new. Waterloo-based Laurier already has one in Brantford while Oakville’s Sheridan College has a business school near Square One in Mississauga and a technology and engineering site in Brampton. UTM has been a satellite of University of Toronto for more than 40 years.

Thew Laurier project already has years of planning and advocacy in place.

In January 2011, Laurier established a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the city of Milton and Sheridan College for education partnerships.

Rosborough said the town is developing a secondary plan for the Milton Education Village on 450 acres of land, including a 150-acre site for the university.

However, the proposal for the new campus in the MOU “requires an acceptable level of funding from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities” for construction, capital and operating costs for the university campus.

The province is currently undergoing austerity measures due to efforts to eliminate a deficit of $14.4 billion.

Situated west of Mississauga and Oakville, the town of Milton has a population of more than 84,000 and is currently one of the fastest growing cities in Canada.

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