The following letter by BUSU President, James Maxwell-Barillas, has been shared to the Provincial Government in support of the City of Thorold for the Heads and Beds Program. The Heads and Beds Program provides funding to municipalities that house colleges or universities. Brock University's campus is located on both St. Catharines and Thorold land, currently the city of St. Catharines only qualifies for this funding.
The Brock University Students’ Union Supports Funding for Heads and Beds in Thorold
Brock University is currently experiencing unparalleled growth in the post-secondary education sector. Located within the Niagara Region, Brock University students, faculty, teaching staff, and administration play a key role in developing the region both culturally and economically. The introduction of new students to the Niagara Region is viewed by the various municipalities as a multifaceted and multidimensional benefit; however, the massive influx of students living within the region between the months of September to April, places serious financial strains on smaller municipalities, including the City of Thorold. Thorold is in a truly unique position, as they are currently excluded from the government's Heads and Beds funding program, yet one-third of Brock University students currently reside within the city.
Geographically, Brock University’s land is located in St. Catharines and Thorold, with the physical buildings located within the City of St. Catharines. It is because of the current layout of the University that the City of Thorold is disqualified from receiving any funding from the Heads and Beds program; despite the large population of approximately 18,000 students. Brock University students gravitate towards housing options within the City of Thorold due, in part, to the city’s public transportation system which helps facilitate student travel between their place of residence and the university.
The Brock University Students' Union is not advocating for the reallocation of existing funds but more so that we support the City of Thorold in their plea for the creation of a new and separate pool of provincial funding for this municipality on the merit of how unique this situation is. Additional financial assistance from the provincial government would ensure student safety is met without applying undue taxation on the greater population.
In conclusion, it is our belief that this would alleviate some of the financial barriers the city faces so that more capital can be invested into enhancing the various amenities that contribute to an outstanding student experience in the City of Thorold.