Local Briefs

U of M in partnership with world’s largest hydroelectric dam project

The U of M has signed a $2.5 million deal to partner with Itaipú Binacional, the world’s largest producer of hydroelectric energy according to Canadaviews.ca.

The university will play a role in training engineers, arologists, environmentalists and business entrepreneurs from Paraguay.

As Paraguay has fewer individuals capable of filling these roles compared to Brazil, this agreement with the University of Manitoba is intended to increase the supply of trained Paraguayans. With this new partnership, Itaipú will sponsor Paraguayan graduate students at the University of Manitoba with 10 students per year over four years.

“I am pleased that the University of Manitoba can be of service to our friends in South America,” says Dr. David Barnard, president and vice-chancellor at the University of Manitoba. “This agreement will also provide excellent opportunities for future collaborative projects in Paraguay.”

“The University of Manitoba shares its talents and skills through partnerships with countries and industries around the world. This latest relationship further strengthens our role as an institution with a commitment to improving lives locally, nationally and internationally.”

U of W western campus officially opens

The University of Winnipeg has officially opened its new, environmentally friendly student and family residence according to CBC News.

Named McFeetors Hall, the $18 million facility is a student and family residence with an attached 120-space day-care centre located on Langside Street.

The building is named after Ray McFeetors, a former U of W graduate and chair of the Great West Life Co.. McFeetors made a personal donation of $1.67 million toward the project.

The first two stories of the building have 25 apartments for students and community families. Nineteen of them have rent ceilings for people with low incomes. The building will also be home to 172 other students.

According to Joan Hay, who works for aboriginal agency Ma Ma Wi Chi Itata and is a member of the U of W community-renewal corporation, some members of the aboriginal community often have families at a young age and attending university can be difficult for them.

“I think it [the new residence] really increases accessibility to education, especially for the aboriginal families,” Hay said.

The new building is environmentally friendly with geothermal heating and cooling system and is certified by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system.

WRHA president to resign 2010

According to the Winnipeg Free Press, Dr. Brian Postl, president and chief executive officer of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, will resign next year after 11 years.

Postl said he would like to continue working for another 10 years and may apply for the U of M dean of Medicine position when it becomes available next July.

“I haven’t made any decisions — clearly, that would be an opportunity,” he said. “I’d be very surprised if I left Canada, and frankly, I’d be very surprised if I left Winnipeg.”

He said he has given several months of thought before giving his resignation. His notice will allow the WRHA to find a suitable successor.

“I’m not sure there was any one reason,” Postl said. “I decided that I would think about it over the summer.

Conservative health critic Myrna Driedger said Postl has covered for government mistakes regarding health care.

“Who’s going to take the fall now for [Health Minister] Theresa Oswald’s mistakes?” asked Driedger.

“I think he’s had a daunting job. I think he deserves a lot of credit,” said Driedger. “He had a lot of hurdles to climb, including political interference from the government.”

University of Manitoba officials have said that a standard search has been launched for a new dean of Medicine to succeed Dr. Dean Sandham on July 1, 2010.