London is on a collision course with its local community college.
In 2010, the city of London provided Fanshawe College with $20 million to turn two downtown buildings into classrooms for 1,000 students.
Fanshawe College has now put forward a $66.2 million proposal — requiring an additional $10 million from city taxpayers — to transform a historic building and double the student headcount in downtown London.
The problem is that a slim majority on city council has decided that the city shouldn’t provide additional funds to the college. This move has nixed the college’s plans, at least temporarily.
Local opinion leaders, as well as the college’s president and board of directors, are surprised that the council would not want to put more student feet on the ground in downtown London.
These community leaders fail to understand that taxpayers are not against the city providing $10 million to the college, but rather against using $66.2 million of their taxes to move a portion of the campus a few kilometres to the city’s downtown core.
While not having a say when the federal and provincial government decided to contribute $56.2 million to this proposal, Londoners have embraced their municipal representatives to illustrate their displeasure with Fanshawe’s proposal.
With council poised to take no action before the municipal election and time expiring on the proposal to purchase the historic downtown building, one has to ask, how did Fanshawe make such a large political miscalculation?
It’s not as if Fanshawe’s management team doesn’t understand municipal politics. Former London mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best is the college’s Government and Business Relations Advisor.
A shake-up is needed at Fanshawe to regain the confidence of Londoners.