private university 

Squamish keen to get private university By Oona Woods Whistler, Squamish and Nelson as the three sites former UBC president Dr. David Strangway and his development team are considering for a year round private university, and Squamish appears to be the keenest on getting the school. The District of Squamish has offered two different sites as possibilities and offered to hire a project manager to ensure complete communication between the town and Strangway’s development team. Nelson has also made a presentation to Strangway’s group, citing the 800-student capacity university that is presently sitting unused within its municipal boundaries. Both municipalities see the private university as an economic injection that will greatly benefit the towns. Initially Strangway approached the RMOW with a proposal for the 100 acre development that would include a university serving 800 students and market housing for 2,000 residents. The general plans called for special zoning and space to provide for students and staff. Earlier this year Mayor Hugh O’Reilly noted that they would have a lot of up-front capital costs and that it would also potentially require raising the bed unit cap in Whistler. Councillor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden commented that Whistler would not be willing to exceed its current bed unit cap in order to strike a deal for what essentially remains a private school. Talks between the developers and Whistler effectively stalled earlier this summer over the issues of land and bed units. Whistler’s council has discussed the latest developments of the project in private and O’Reilly reports that although they have come to a decision over what they can offer, they can’t release it yet. "We haven’t co-ordinated with them (Strangway’s team) but it will come up on the next agenda (Dec. 7). Council has had a chance to look it over and they know what they want to do. We have gone over the merits and looked at it and turned it upside down. He (Strangway) kind of knows what we’re doing." Strangway says he thinks a decision on where the university will be located will be made by December, after reviewing the proposals submitted by the three towns.

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