For the Lakeside Leader
If Northern Lakes College doesn’t start building its new campus in High Prairie as soon as possible, it risks losing the funding. That was the warning from NLC board chair Dan Vandermeulen, delivered to High Prairie town council on Oct. 10.
“Funding is too perishable,” he said, adding it was a long-standing position that when NLC received funding it would build as quickly as possible.
Vandermeulen also explained to council the reason the college chose to build on land east of High Prairie Elementary School, instead of the old hospital site preferred by town council.
“The land must be free, the land must be clean, the land must be timely,” he said, adding that the hospital site is none of those things.
“We want to get the project completed in three years, before next (provincial) election. That’s what we’re pushing for.”
Vandermeulen also announced that the college was three weeks away from choosing a designer for the new $21.6 million campus, adding that he hoped private donations would boost the figure.
Councillor Michael Long expressed anger that town council wasn’t consulted in the process of choosing a site.
“You’ve overstepped your authority,” he told Vandermeulen. “You made your deal and you didn’t consult us.”
Mayor Linda Cox was also not happy with the announced site or the way it was arrived at.
“When did the hospital land go off that table?” she asked. “I’m a bit ticked we were left out of the partnership. I thought we were your partners.”
If worst comes to worst, Vandermeulen proposed an option he did not want to see happen.
“If there is vehement resistance, we’ll build on our land, but it doesn’t have the partnership potential.”
It would mean the proposed integrated campus would be dead due to lack of space.