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Latest TRU vision will inject new life into city

September 22, 2016 4:19 A.M.

YOU HAVE to wonder if everyone grasps the scope of what they're endeavouring to do at Thompson Rivers University.

They've been doing the spadework and the planning for some years now, so it's not a total revelation, but "The Reach"  the planned university city on campus sounds to us like one of the biggest deals to hit Kamloops ever.

They're not talking about a couple of student dorms, but rather an entire community on campus complete with 78,000 square feet of retail space, three million square feet of residential accommodation for students and others, commercial, a hotel, pharmacy and even a market.

They're talking about $1 billion in private sector investment over 20-30 years that will completely transform the McGill corridor, and promises to further diversify and drive the Kamloops economy for years to come.

Monday was the unveiling of the vision's brand, which they've called "The Reach" adding credence to the notion the giant master redevelopment plan is not just a glint in some architects or academic's eye, but an exciting development that is on the cusp of taking material form.

The Reach promises to transform Thompson Rivers University, and provide it with a new and sustainable revenue stream, but also to inject new life and vibrancy to the city, and make it a true university destination.

If this isn't enough to create excitement about what lies ahead for the city, you may not have a pulse.

Listen to Jim Harrison's editorials weekdays on Radio NL, and to the Jim Harrison Show at 9:08 a.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact him at jharrison@radionl.com.

David Webb says:
September 28, 2016 01:07pm

The very fact that you support this initiative makes me question whether it's a good thing.

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Ajaxtoobigtooclose says:
September 22, 2016 11:24am

I believe you have expressed the importance of this development clearly.

This is the first time I have agreed with your opinion.

The aspect you probably do not agree with is that The Reach and the proposed mine do not fit together. The Reach will make a dramatic positive difference for the city. It will be a sustainable economic and cultural engine. It will bring people together in the city, and will bring more people to the city.

In contrast, the proposed mine divides people, destroys the environment and contributes nothing but harm to the culture. The only upside would be a few jobs, but at a horrific cost. The Reach and the proposed mine are mutually exclusive. The proposed mine continues to cause harm, and the existence of the mine proposal is a dark cloud discouraging good people in business, education and health professions from moving to or remaining in this city, while the development of The Reach will only continue to bring people together in a positive way.

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John Goldsmith says:
September 22, 2016 09:57am

What does this great news really mean apart from the obvious? Yes Jim you couldn't be more correct with your sense of the impact of TRU's expansion program on Kamloops. Isn't it wonderful to consider our home town as a University City joined together with the Tournment Capital of Canada, makes one want to live here as a place of personal choice. We just need to get the health/medical care issues figured out and corrected.
Sorry to turn the subject on to the Ajax mine, but let's just stop and think about TRU's impact and effect verses KGHM/Ajax mine. What is better for the long term future of our City, University City or Mining Town?
Ajax, God help us, should actually start up and mine this low grade high volume deposit for 18 years and then close down and leave, while TRU becomes a world class university and operates into the future as far as one can see. Well why not have both?
Here are other impacts of TRU's capital projects on Ajax. TRU will be first to market with a one billion dollar investment, this will absorb any surplus of skilled construction labour for years to come causing any contractor who may bid on work at Ajax to build into the price a large margin of costs to bring in out of market skilled tradesmen to do the work. This extra cost is not in the KGHM pro forma calculations released earlier this year. Their CapEx last stood at $1.3 billion, and no doubt it has gone well above this figure given the continuing delays and doubts, now layer in new labour cost of maybe several hundred millions and the picture just gets uglier and uglier. At the old number of $1.3 billion, the pro forma economics of the mine were marginal at best, just think what the new reality means.
The second huge and new impact of the TRU announcement on Ajax is, the Kamloops citizenship and it's leaders clearly now have a real choice. It does not make sense to continue to support Ajax given these latest developments.
Through Code Blue or others it is now time to put the final nails into KGHM/Ajax. We can not position Ajax on the bases that it does not make economic sense and get soft on trying to defeat it. We are in a time sensitive period right now with provincial and local elections on the horizon. The opponents of Ajax should do everything in their power to see that people running for office and who support Ajax are defeated, it's time to really work on this.
At the City level let's support the five points Denis Walsh has brought forward, now referred to as the" Walsh Terms & Conditions " for mining near urban areas. Under these terms and conditions it would be virtually impossible for KGHM to proceed with Ajax, however, it would give Ajax conditional approval to proceed and simply hold KGHM/Ajax to it's representations made to the citizens of Kamloops on several occasions in the past...."NO HARM".
In the up coming provincial elections let's find out who supports the Walsh Terms & Conditions and who will carry them forward to Victoria and endeavour to have them enshrined in the Provincal Mining Act. Those running for provincial office who do not support this should be defeated.
Locally, the same should apply relative to the Oct 2018 City elections, and Denis Walsh should be encouraged to get his Terms and Conditions before City Council for a formal vote as soon as possible. Voters at the upcoming Provincial elections would like to know where the Mayor and individual councillors stand on this matter.
Code Blue, you have been silent for a while, just because Ajax is working behind closed doors doesn't mean nothing is going on. Please consider a broadly based advertising campaign through local media and the Internet for membership. Maybe Code Blue could become the organization that can speak for a majority of people. A social media campaign in an endeavour to accomplish this could prove worthwhile and give the opposition to Ajax a very strong, nonpolical, collective voice. The timing is now.
KGHM IS CURRENTLY DEVELOPING IT's LONG TERM PLANNING AND WILL MADE DECISIONS IN THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2017 IN POLAND. Let's do everything possible to convince them in the meantime to withdraw from Kamloops and shut down Ajax forever. Maybe they are ready to sell Ajax to a local foundation, to be formed, and try to recover a portion of their loses.
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Mark Twang says:
September 22, 2016 07:55am

Great news, especially combined with the iTel high tech jobs located at the former Weyerhaeuser sawmill building. Kamloops is on the verge of growing its knowledge based economy and becoming less reliant on the boom and bust of resources. It's time to kill AJAX and make sure a dusty giant hole on the edge of town doesn't hinder our future growth.

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