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Does Sault Ste. Marie need another innovation centre?

Proposed STEAM centre would be located downtown
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The Civic Centre is pictured in this aerial photo. Zack Trunzo/Village Media

Sault Ste. Marie City Council will be asked Monday to move forward with a feasibility study on establishing a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) and Innovation Centre.

A report to Mayor Provenzano and councillors authored by Travis Anderson, the city's director of tourism and community development, indicates the new facility would be aimed at continuing diversification of the local economy and attracting new residents to the Sault.

Key focus areas would include:

  • developing research and employment opportunities for recent graduates
  • facilitating networking and partnerships between industry, post-secondary institutions and the existing Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre
  • 'grow our own' innovation companies
  • use labour force pipeline and talent pool development to attract new businesses and industry to Sault Ste. Marie
  • provide an opportunity for youth in the community to learn and engage in STEAM areas of interest

"The purpose of the study is to assess the feasibility of establishing the centre in the downtown, as well as provide recommendations on programming and the commercial viability of the centre," Anderson says.

"The consultants will work with local stakeholders to confirm needs, develop a business model, research cost implications for different options and explore options related to the possible location of the STEAM centre."

"Based on stakeholder feedback, there is a viable need and concept for a STEAM centre and this study will help to develop a detailed strategy, business plan and location options that can be considered by City Council in the future," Anderson said.

"Staff had previously allocated budget towards this initiative through funding received by FedNor for the FutureSSM project. As such, there is no request to council for additional funds."

Monday's City Council meeting will be livestreamed on SooToday starting at 4:30 p.m.

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David Helwig

About the Author: David Helwig

David Helwig's journalism career spans seven decades beginning in the 1960s. His work has been recognized with national and international awards.
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