Marconi Part III: Bonus Scenes

Here are some bits and bobs I gleaned from the Ekistics report on relocating the NSCC Marconi Campus to Sydney’s downtown but could not work into Parts I or II (I know, there has to be a more elegant way to introduce this but I am lazy, so have opted for the “And here’s some other stuff” approach.)


Impact: Nil

The report attempts to measure the economic impact the move will have on downtown Sydney, and in passing, lets us know that at the time the report was written, there were 1,300 students enrolled at NSCC Marconi, 86% of whom lived — and can be expected to continue to live — at home. Of those who move from outside CBRM to attend the NSCC, 55 live in residence at CBU, so:

This gain to the private sector rental market would come at the expense of revenue reductions at CBU.

Just over half of them travel to school as the sole passenger in a motor vehicle.

So, when the campus moves, will students spend money in downtown Sydney? Ekistics figures that, as there are “virtually no outlets for personal spending” near the current Marconi Campus, students are now spending their money near their homes or temporary lodgings and, because downtown Sydney provides “a reasonably wide range of outlets,” that the downtown is already capturing part of this spending.

When the campus moves, the report predicts that students will direct about $1.05 million (including money saved in travel costs) to the downtown:

To put this amount in context this amount of spending would be sufficient to support about 3,679 ft2 of moderately profitable causal restaurant/coffee shop space.

Overall, though, “the impact on the CBRM is nil,” because money being spent in downtown Sydney is money not being spent elsewhere in the CBRM.

The same will basically be true of staff, who may spend more money in downtown Sydney but only because they are spending less elsewhere in the CBRM.


Moving the Maker Space

Ekistics says Innovacorp’s Maker Space is “currently housed at a temporary location and will need to find a new location within two years.”

The Maker Space is housed in the New Dawn Centre for Social Innovation (i.e. in what was the gym in what was Holy Angels High School), which I hadn’t realized was a temporary location.


Opportunity knocks

This made me laugh out loud:

The reuse of the current Marconi facility could offer an economic opportunity to the CBRM. It could be marketed to potential occupants who see value in its adjacency to CBU and its building design that is suitable for engineering, manufacturing, laboratory work and bench-testing related activities.


CBU would clearly benefit if the current Marconi Campus buildings could be reused by occupants whose lines of business or research align with the core interest of CBU.

OR we could just give it to the Fire Department:

The part of the NSCC campus being eyed by the fire and emergency services department is the E-Wing facility. According to a department report, the site is large enough to house training, prevention, Hazmat, fleet maintenance and storage, and emergency management all under one roof.


Cheap labor

Here’s a lovely “pro” to locating the campus in downtown Sydney:

…when colleges are located downtown businesses have better access to labour that is willing to undertake part-time work and to work long shifts. Research found that employing students could reduce labour costs by one to two dollars an hour.

Long hours, low wages — a lose/lose proposition for the students we’re so happy to have in town.



One of the “constraints” on the site next to Centre 200,  according to Ekistics, was that it would put the college in close proximity to the casino, which the consultant apparently felt might encourage too much downtown spending by NSCC students. The report notes there is a possibility the casino might move (it doesn’t cite Martin Chernin’s waterfront development plan by name, but that’s obviously the reference — Chernin wants to put the casino on the waterfront.)

The Department of Labour and Advanced Education dodged this bullet by selecting the former Mercers site.

Unless, of course, Chernin prevails and the casino ends up just a hop, skip and a jump down the boardwalk from the Marconi.

This got me thinking, though — if it makes no sense to put the casino next to the Marconi, does that mean it also makes no sense to put it next to the library?

(Of course, you’ve been reading Rob Csernyik’s series on the casino, Part I of which has just been released from behind the paywall, you’re probably wondering if it makes sense to put a casino anywhere at all in Sydney.)


Green space

This has nothing to do with the Marconi, per se, but the report contains a number of shots — aerial and otherwise — of downtown Sydney, and man is it a concrete jungle:

Charlotte Street, Sydney, NS

Downtown Sydney, NS. (“NSCC Marconi Campus Sydney Relocation,” Ekistics Plan + Design)


Aerial view Downtown Sydney, NS

Aerial view Downtown Sydney, NS. (“NSCC Marconi Campus Sydney Relocation,” Ekistics Plan + Design)


Look at this one — you can actually see where the greenery ends and the concrete begins. Maybe we need a plan to attract more trees to the downtown:

Aerial view, Sydney NS

Aerial view Downtown Sydney, NS. (“NSCC Marconi Campus Sydney Relocation,” Ekistics Plan + Design)




Note: The full report is too large to upload to my website, so I’ve uploaded it to Dropbox. You can access it by clicking here