City of Brantford Showcased as a Model for Revitalizing Through Education 

For Immediate Release
3/27/2014 
Contact: Mayor Chris Friel 
Phone: 519-759-4150 

The City of Brantford is being showcased as a model for reinventing its community through education. Premier Kathleen Wynne, along with Brad Duguid, Minister of Training Colleges & Universities, hosted a roundtable discussion today at Queen’s Park in which Brantford was highlighted as a model community for the successful attraction and implementation of post-secondary education, with five institutions working collaboratively to provide opportunities to the Brantford community. The Premier announced the government is taking steps to ensure that more students can pursue undergraduate degrees close to home and has invited universities to submit proposals for new or expanded campuses in underserved areas.

Municipalities across the country are looking to Brantford for direction on how to successfully integrate education into the revitalization of a municipality, combining the ability to attract post-secondary institutions, gaining community and council support, along with leveraging private sector investment. The City of Brantford has capitalized on the establishment and growth of post-secondary institutions in Brantford, with investment by education, students and the private sector resulting in an economic impact of $43.33 - $58.5 million annually. With education being the catalyst, the city has been able to attract investment from many strategic partnerships with the post-secondary institutions, private sector, business community and other regional partners.

“Revitalizing our community through education has been key for Brantford. Brantford should be very proud of the successful partnerships created by community members, the municipality, academic institutions and industry. Citizens have engaged and supported Council in taking a dire situation of de-industrialization and developing a unique solution to reinventing Brantford that will continue to grow and prosper and present ongoing benefits to our community. There is no question that without education, we would still be trying to evolve,” says Mayor Chris Friel. Next year will mark the fifteenth anniversary of Wilfrid Laurier University, Brantford campus – a campus that started with thirty-nine students and has grown to over three thousand. “We are literally fifteen years ahead of other municipalities who are now looking to integrate satellite campuses in their community as a means of developing and educating a sustainable workforce.”

The Mayor has shared with over a dozen communities the learning opportunities and experience of Brantford to provide leadership in how municipalities can benefit from partnerships such as those established by Brantford and the need to focus on realistic expectations locally and the need to engage and secure support from citizens, private sector and Council. “Brantford has had the opportunity to evolve successfully, pioneering a model that will be used by the province going forward. Future capacity expansion will now be regulated and controlled, learning from the success of Brantford,” said Mayor Friel. “Brantford has been able to benefit economically, culturally, and socially. Our image and reputation as a community as a result of revitalizing through education, has allowed us to become an economically diverse community.”

Going forward, the need to effectively develop and build the infrastructure to facilitate and accommodate growth in a balanced way needs to be considered. Non-academic activities and destinations available for the greater community in downtown, such as the new YMCA – Laurier partnership, will help in achieving the balanced growth while attracting investment and providing a diversified consumer base. The foundation for success has been laid and the opportunity for growth is no longer only on the horizon.

Click for further information on the City's Revitalization through Education initiative. Click for additional information on the Provincial announcement by Premier Wynne and the call for proposals (opens in a new window).