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Flash freeze warning issued
Environment Canada has issued a flash freeze warning for the Kirkland Lake area. Officials say “temperatures are expected to climb above the zero degree celsius mark today accompanied by rain or wet snow. Temperatures will then fall rapidly with the passage of a cold front near or after midnight.
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College support pays dividends to community: Study
The nearly 40 per cent of Sault College students who are not from the area added $10.4 million in income to Algoma District in 2019-2020, a new study finds. International students contributed $4.4 million, or 42 per cent, of that amount, labour market analytics firm Emsi says. Students paid $27.3 million for tuition, fees and supplies. “This study shows what a significant positive impact the college has on our students and our community,” said President Ron Common during a board of governors meeting last Thursday. “We generate a substantial return on investment to the major stakeholder groups – the students, the taxpayers and society.” Emsi found provincial taxpayers get $1.80 back for every government dollar that supports the post-secondary institution. The Ontario government earmarked funding of $41.8 million in 2019-2020. In return, graduates will contribute $72.6 million in taxes from higher lifetime earnings and increased business output because of their college education. Reduced demand for government-funded services will save taxpayers $664,000. Students receive $1.70 back for every dollar they spend on education expenses. Sault College employed 556 full-time-equivalent students during 2019-2020. They were paid $45.7 million. The college added $170.6 million in income to Algoma District, representing 6 per cent of the region’s gross regional product. With one in 15 jobs in Algoma District supported by Sault College, the post-secondary institution has “a very significant impact on our community,” said Common. “As education increases there’s clearly documented relationship with reduced crime, reduced demand for income assistance, increased health and well-being across the province,” he said. Emsi used “very conservative” methodology to calculate its findings, he told governors. A two-page fact sheet was shared with governors in the meeting’s package. The entire report is 93 pages. The last study to evaluate the college’s economic impact was about a decade old. That assessment was “becoming dated,” said Common. Emsi did a similar study for Algoma University that was released in early 2020. The university has an $80-million impact on the Sault’s economy based on 2017-2018 data. Payroll, not including research employees, stood at $16.7 million. Algoma spent $12.5 million on day-to-day expenses. firstname.lastname@example.org On Twitter: @Saultreporter
EZ Ride gets ready to roll
A second ridesharing service expects to start rolling on Sault Ste. Marie streets later this year. Sault Ste. Marie Police Services Board approved a vehicle for hire application from EZ Ride co-owners Chris Morris and Daniela Parrotti at a meeting last Thursday. Morris expects his fleet of four vehicles will start transporting passengers in the late summer or early fall. “I think we’re in need of additional taxi service to get around Sault Ste. Marie,” said board member Ian MacKenzie. “The more competition, the better the pricing is.” Mayor Christian Provenzano agreed, calling another ridesharing services in the city “a positive thing,” but wanted language in a resolution to be passed by the board to be toughened up. The original motion considered by the board said Morris and Parrotti had to make “every reasonable effort” to meet application requirements. Provenzano was “a little leery” of the wording, asking instead EZ Ride officials “have to comply” with the taxi bylaw that the police services board oversees. “I think that’s fair,” said board member Rick Webb. The adjusted resolution passed. Morris called the board’s expectation “fair enough.” Key parts of his business – including insurance and developing an app for riders to use – were on hold until the board approved his application. “We’re pretty much good to move on to the next stage as long as I get some sort of writing from them that says they’re approving it,” Morris told The Sault Star. He and Parrotti are both drivers with several months experience with U Ride. Morris says “there’s a ton of demand” for ridesharing services. “Adding another service and taking some of their drivers just means that there’s going to be more drivers available to be hired,” he said. “We can get a few more people on the road making some more money and we can get people around safer, more efficiently. With this lockdown slowly starting to dwindle down more and more people are going to be moving around.” EZ Ride has four confirmed drivers. Rates charged will be comparable to Uride, the first ridesharing service that was approved by the board in October 2019. “Our goal is to be available 24/7,” said Morris. “There’s a huge demand overnight, especially Thursday through Sunday.” He expects EZ Ride will have “at least” one driver working nights. U Ride is active in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and nine Ontario cities, including Sudbury, Timmins and Thunder Bay. Morris isn’t looking beyond the Sault in the short term. “Right now there’s absolutely no desire to expand in the next few years,” he said. “Our focus is Sault Ste. Marie. That’s what we want to focus on. We don’t want to start looking at Sudbury, North Bay and all of a sudden our focus gets away from the Sault.” Two taxi companies, UCAB, formerly Union Cab, and Soo Yellow Cab, also operate in the Sault. email@example.com On Twitter: @Saultreporter