Partnership welcomes Ontario Superbuild funding for UW R&T Park

WATERLOO, Ont. -- The Region of Waterloo took a major step to the forefront of the new economy today with the announcement of the provincial government's Superbuild allocation of $13.4 million to the University of Waterloo Research & Technology Park.

The six-way public-private partnership involved in the R&T Park welcomed the Queen's Park announcement by provincial Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. The Superbuild announcement is the next-to-final piece of the puzzle before the Park becomes a reality. The sole remaining piece is the federal government contribution, which is currently under consideration.

The partnership in the proposed $214-million initiative includes the Province of Ontario, the Government of Canada, the University of Waterloo, the Region of Waterloo, the City of Waterloo, Communitech and Canada's Technology Triangle.

"The Province's approval of the Research and Technology Park is a major coup for this Region. The research and leading edge technology, together with all of the practical spinoffs, will build on the strengths we have and will keep us in the forefront of technological change," said Regional Chair Ken Seiling. "This can only serve to strengthen our Region, all of our communities, our Province, and our country."

UW President David Johnston called the research and technology park initiative a "remarkable symbol of the new economy." It's a "powerful idea and important initiative" for the people of Waterloo Region and the province, he said.

"I pay warm tribute to the public and private leaders of this region for creating this initiative that will expand knowledge, encourage its application, stimulate new companies and create jobs," he added.

Mayor Lynne Woolstencroft said: "I am exhilarated for the University, the City and the Region. Nearly two decades ago Toyota electrified our community with the potential for stable employee centered manufacturing. This industry has doubled and quadrupled, and every one in the Region benefited by their presence. The Research Park is precisely that kind of dream for the next generation. The Research Park is a place to plant dreams and think big thoughts. On behalf of the council of the City of Waterloo, we wish only the best for this endeavor."

Communitech president Greg Barratt said: "The technology industry is thrilled. This will have a substantially positive impact on our reputation as a leading technology cluster, and on our ability to create new companies and new jobs."

It is projected that the UW Research & Technology Park investment will result in an estimated 6,000 new economy jobs and $5 - 10 billion in economic impact over the next 10 years in the area's burgeoning high-tech node. This will result in an improved ability to compete internationally.

The park is expected to have province-wide and national impact, boosting the Waterloo Region's reputation and competitiveness world-wide and retaining many of the best and brightest minds in the local community.

It will enhance the creation of new knowledge through business opportunities, research collaborations and creation of jobs at the leading edge of the economy, as well as give the burgeoning local high-tech community room to grow in diversity and strength.

The University of Waterloo anticipates that the park will create many new educational and research opportunities. Of particular importance is the creation of jobs for co-op students and graduates.

As well there will be opportunities for further spin-off companies from UW, already Canada's leading creator of spin-offs in the high-tech area. The plan calls for an accelerator centre for new business start-ups which further adds to spin-off growth potential.

-30-

Contacts:

Ken Seiling, Waterloo Regional Chair,

(519) 575-4585

sken@region.waterloo.on.ca

David Johnston, UW President,

(519) 888-4400; president@uwaterloo.ca

Martin Van Nierop, Director, UW's Information & Public Affairs,

(519) 888-4881; vanierop@uwaterloo.ca

From Jim Fox, UW News Bureau, (519) 888-4444; jfox@uwaterloo.ca

UW Release no. 190 -- November 6, 2001