Breaking ground downtown: A Tale of Two Cities

By DJ Kelly November 14, 2007

Well this sure sounds familiar.

While Simon Fraser University, Vancouver and the British Columbia government are putting their money where their mouths are by undertaking a massive downtown arts education campus, Calgary’s similar Urban Campus Initiative appears to have stalled.

The two projects seem similar except there appears to be more of an arts focus in Vancouver and the Calgary project looks like it leans more in the direction of focusing on community. The goals appear to be very much the same however with both having heavy community and arts angles.

So why has the SFU project suddenly picked up steam while the UofC/Bow Valley College/SAIT/University of Lethbridge/Athabasca University/Calgary Board of Education project doesn’t look like its even updated its website since June 2006? (No seriously, this isn’t a rhetorical question. Not like: isn’t involving so many red-tape heavy institutions just asking for trouble?)

Why has such a great project pulled up lame before even getting into the start blocks? According to the CBC report on the Vancouver project the lynch-pin was the Government of British Columbia’s investment. Meantime, the Urban Campus website states Calgary city council agreed to turn the land over if the Alberta provincial government invested. And…? Is this where the hold up is?

I guess it looks like it will take some serious digging to find out what’s going on here in Cowtown.