Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor for the week of January 17th

Loss felt every day


Page 4 of 7

The Whistler International Campus is proposed for the Alpha Lands, which are in the process of being developed anyway. It is my contention that the campus, to use the municipality's planning terms, offers the "highest and best land use" for this community and is one of the primary reasons I continue to advocate for it.

Moreover, it provides the cleanest and most significant economic stimulus possible that will help to level the economic ups and downs we continue to experience while both protecting and enhancing the environmental features. Two hundred and seventy million dollars in a phased ten-year construction with an ongoing operating budget of approximately thirty million dollars would give us an enviable stability in an economically unstable world.

(The editorial) points out the need to "offer the right programs, in the right format, at the right time, in the right location, and price... and they shall come." This is the very reason we have partnered with the UNBC and BCIT as well as an Austrian and Japanese institution.

UNBC has one of the most visionary post-secondary leaders in North America. For example he has created cutting edge programs in the field of energy that have garnered a first place tie in North America with Harvard. It is one of the reasons UNBC has seen a significant increase in applicants for 2013.

Similarly, innovative leadership at BCIT and its School of Business, our other B.C. partner, has led to the longest waiting list of any post-secondary institution in the province. Offering BCIT's tourism programs in Whistler would result in immediate enrolment as well as support for local businesses.

Our partner in Austria offers degrees in such areas as Sports Equipment Technology and Environmental Management and Ecotoxicology, which are oversubscribed and tie directly to our community's endeavours. More importantly the campus combines the theoretical university teaching approach with that of the technical or applied sciences — a unique combination in the country. This gives the students more opportunity to fulfill the rapidly growing skills employment gap in our own B.C. economy. The campus will offer online and on-campus learning along with opportunities for the students to do some work abroad.

Our research in current program preferences and market demand has been thorough and six years in the making so that we are confident we meet the criteria outlined in his editorial.

What we need now is for Council, to support its mantra of being "open for business," as they demonstrated with Michael Audain's Gallery and to give us the opportunity to also support the Whistler brand and our community's expressed desire to bring a vibrant post-secondary industry to town. We encourage readers to visit www.whistlerinternationalcampus.com for further details including a video of the campus.