Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Bay and University of Winnipeg

The Bay downtown future home to University of Winnipeg.

It seems a deal to good to pass up. The Bay has approached the University of Winnipeg and offered them the two and half floors for an aboriginal under-graduate and graduate studies program.

It is an exciting opportunity to be sure but given the largest expansion of the University of Winnipeg in history is already underway, one wonders if the money is there or the ability to offer programming that can be sustained long term. The amount of space at The Bay is huge. Off hand, I don't know if the present aboriginal programming at the U of W could fill such an expansive site. I'm sure the itemized list could include the Aboriginal Student Services Centre (ASSC) and the Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre as well as offices of professors and some classroom and lab space. However, each floor is over 70,000 square feet.

University officials have said that they will need to talk to private partners and for this to work, there is no doubt that talk with First Nations, the province and the federal government is essential. Perhaps if they hurry, they could convince Yellowquill College to move from Assiniboine Avenue before they go to the Polo Park aboriginal site.

It is possible with this type of cooperation, a super center for aboriginal education could be established.

It won't be easy but lately we have come to expect a lot from Lloyd Axworthy and the University of Winnipeg in terms of dynamic school in the downtown area.

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Colin said...

Axworthy has a long history, both at the University and in politics of promising big and delivering something smaller in the end. I have yet to decide whether this is a failure or a successful technique to achieve managable goals, either way what will end up at the Bay WILL be different than what is envisioned.

John Dobbin said...

What do you think some of his failures are at the University of Winnipeg? My thoughts go to the pension plan but part of the problem with that was that the Feds insisted surpluses should not be accumulated. However, in the aftermath of September 11, suddenly the pensions were in the hole. This seems an inherited problem.

In terms of politics, there has certainly been ups and downs but the Core Area Initiative and The Forks are major achievements.

What do you think his major political failures were?