Editorial Board 1999-2000
Give and take
Give and take
What is the University of Western Ontario worth to the city of London?
Western hopes to receive an influx of $270 million in a combination of public and private dollars over the next five years. This money will be directed towards sponsorships, fellowships, scholarships and basically any other "ship" which can be applied to the university. The money will also be used in preparation for the fast approaching double cohort, beginning in September of the 2003 school year.
The only catch is London's city council has to agree on contributing $10 million to the university over the next five years. The rest of the funding has a better chance of coming if Western has the full support of the city. The council will make a decision before the end of the year aas to whether or not to donate the money. Although the matter should be given careful consideration, the answer should be clear.
The university, with all its staff and students bring an annual $1 billion into this city. Fifteen thousand full time jobs alone, ranging from administrative positions to sanitation engineers, have also been created within the campus to date. To top it all off, Western's new stadium is allowing London to host the 2001 Canadian Summer Games and the city is bound to reap the rewards of a huge influx of revenue and tourism.
Like it or not, London has to realize it is a university town. The repercussions following an uprooting of this academy would result in nothing less than a ghost town, complete with tumble weed and boarded up windows. Ten million dollars seems like a lot of money to the average individual, but it's paltry when compared to the numbers this university commands.
If the deal is approved, the only question which will remain is where will council come up with this money? It may be a matter of re-organization, or it may come down to raising taxes.
This is where the agreement could reach it's toughest battle ground. When it comes down to it, the tax burden on the average citizen would be more of a scrape than a gouge, totaling approximately $13 over the next five years. That's not even $2.50 per resident per year. If this is too much to ask for all this institution does for London and its surrounding areas, then this city does not deserve to house a Mustang.
Regardless of how much a Londoner thinks they have no association or affiliation with the university, in the end, the bond is unavoidable. One can only hope city council has enough common sense to help out any way they can.
If not, put the moving sign up. How hard would it be to find another city in Ontario that would like $1 billion in revenue and 15,000 new jobs?