UTAS should move its regional campus to seaside land near West Park, Burnie Mayor Steve Kons believes.
“I want it to happen,” Ald Kons said yesterday.
He said it would lead to a big economic turnaround in Burnie, fill the shops and also bring many construction jobs.
Most importantly, he said, an expanded university site would make it easier for students to stay on the Coast and study.
The uni is on track to outgrow its current site in the suburbs.
Ald Kons believes the council-owned land – long mooted for a big hotel project that never arrived – would be perfect.
He intends to raise it with the other aldermen soon and has had some discussion with UTAS.
Ald Kons also envisages the campus taking an involvement in the council’s cash whirlpool Makers’ Workshop, with potential to lower losses to ratepayers.
UTAS deputy chancellor and finance committee chair Rod Roberts said the work had not yet been done to look at the economics of the West Park idea.
“What might be contemplated is having a presence there, not necessarily the whole lot (of the campus).”
Ald Kons said the site was easily big enough.
He also suggested it could involve more than one floor, with the land sloping down towards the sea, meaning households would not be affected by a higher building.
“Here, within a 50-minute drive, there would be 100,000 people, with a fantastic educational facility,” he said.
“It would be a great use of a council block of land, value add to the city and to the intellectual capacity of the North-West.”
His idea leaves car parking for the sports oval, but would take in much of the under-utilised land in the area, some of which now provides car parking.
“It has linkages to the city and community…the community would be able to walk to their university.”
Ald Kons said such a development would also provide impetus to improve bus services on the Coast.
UTAS has given some thought to the old paper mill site as a potential campus location.
Enrolments topped 1000 last year and may hit 4000-6000 within a decade, campus director Janelle Allison suggested in November.
COME ON DOWN: Burnie Mayor Steve Kons is inviting the university to consider a larger space at West Park for expansion. Picture: Stuart Wilson.
This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.