Brant businesses love Laurier

– Matt Mente, News Editor

A Guelph-based research company has recently crunched the numbers on pretty much everything that has to do with Brantford business.

The company carried out a similar survey in 2005 with both aimed at determining the impact of Laurier Brantford, Nipissing-Brantford and Mohawk College on the Brantford and Brant region economies.

A total of 204 Businesses were surveyed for the study, with the vast majority of them being located either in downtown Brantford or within the city at large.

The survey was quite positive and looking at the numbers it provides explanations why.

The impact of the student population alone is tremendous with the average post-secondary student in Brantford spending just over $6000 dollars a year.

Slightly over half a million dollars is generated by people just visiting the campus each year.

In terms of community benefit it is estimated that post secondary students in Brantford provide roughly $1.7 million in volunteer labour each year.

The greatest economic benefit for Brantford though, is easily just the presence of Laurier Brantford and other post-secondary institutions.

Over the next five years it is estimated that through construction and renovation alone, post-secondary institutions in Brantford will help the city retain $110.2 million and generate roughly 227 jobs.

Post secondary operation in Brantford over the next five years will result in an estimated $175 million in provincial expenditure in Brantford and will generate approximately 550 sustained jobs within the city.

With so many economic benefits to Brantford, it should come as no surprise that local businesses are quite supportive of the city’s growing number of post-secondary institutions.

It’s not just the money that people like though. the vast majority of businesses polled feel that having post secondary institutions in Brantford increases the city’s reputation. Many also feel that the large number of students has a positive impact on the downtown area and that things are improving physically and within the community as well as economically.

Interestingly, the survey made several recommendations. That all parties prioritise the deepening of communication, that efforts be focused on balancing the academic year (keeping more students in Brantford over the summer), that all parties strive to commence the downtown YMCA project, and that a new college partner be sought for Brantford.

Though it’s unclear whether it was done through common thinking, communication or pure coincidence, at least two of these recommendations are rapidly being addressed. A new partnership between Laurier and Conestoga was recently announced which will bring a new college into downtown Brantford. Furthermore, at the same announcement Laurier President Max Blouw mentioned that the planned YMCA project lacks only federal funding before it can move forward.

In addition, city officials are glad to point out the excellent lines of communication between Brantford and Laurier, as well as the city’s continuous growth and revitalisation which has led some to call Brantford a centre of excellence in municipal innovation.

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