City backs college initiative

Salmon Arm council is ready to commit the city’s support to Okanagan College’s downtown campus initiative.

Salmon Arm council is ready to commit the city’s support to Okanagan College’s downtown campus initiative.

At its regular meeting last Monday, council heard from Downtown Campus co-ordinator Margaret Hardy, who invited council and the city to sign a memorandum of understanding, endorsing the downtown campus initiative.

“This document requires no financial commitment from any of the participating partners. It’s just a commitment to future planning efforts,” said Hardy, adding there is a signing media event planned for Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 5 p.m.

Mayor Marty Bootsma said he wasn’t opposed to signing the MOU, but warned that the city has already contributed $12,000 to year one of a two-year planning process related to the project. Signing the MOU, he said, would likely be committing the city to contributing financially next year as well.

Coun. Chad Eliason, however, did not see a problem with this, and suggested it be referred to the 2012 budget process.

“I think it’s important we do fund it,” said Eliason. “A lot of people ask how the city council and the city actually promotes industry and promotes jobs and attracts growth, all of that. I think this is one way that the city has shown initiative to follow up with this, to look for long-term industry for our community. A green industry that contributes not just to our economic wealth… it also is our social welfare with educated people and a well-trained workforce.”

Council supported the signing of the MOU. Other desired signatories include the Columbia Shuswap Regional District and the Salmon Arm Economic Development Society. Hardy said that through this partnership, a footprint for the downtown campus would be determined.

“Once we’ve done that, we can identify and confirm for you a campus site,” sad Hardy. “We’re going to be holding a town hall meeting in January… and that will be, again, to bring that to the general public all the things that have been going on and specifically, at that time, we hope to be able to confirm the site.”


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