February 24, 2024

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A timeline of Quest University’s monetary difficulties

An in-depth account of the events top up to the school’s conclusion to indefinitely halt its tutorial programming

Quest College is experiencing a renewed bout of monetary difficulties that has prompted an indefinite halt to the school’s tutorial programming.

What follows is a brief timeline of the school’s heritage and economic problems that led to Quest’s existing circumstance.

In May possibly 2002, The Sea to Sky University Act receives assent from the provincial authorities. This paves the way for a university to establish its roots in Squamish.

Five many years afterwards – in 2007 – Quest University opens its doors. Established by David Strangway, who claimed his intention was to produce Canada’s very first non-earnings non-public university, the school’s goal was to use a distinctive process of finding out termed the block technique. Less than this system, college students are immersed regularly in a person matter at a time, with the intent of providing them a more in-depth mastering encounter.

In 2017, Quest will get into disputes that wind up in courtroom. That yr, the university, alongside with quite a few related charities, sues the District of Squamish, alleging the municipality backed out of a deal that would waive progress price tag costs for its lands. 

Advancement charge prices pay for items like pipes and roads that connect a new advancement to a municipality, and in Squamish, it is customary for a new advancement to pay back those people costs to the district.

Quest’s civil declare reported that the municipality agreed to make an exemption for the service fees, with the knowledge that the college would be the a person developing the needed infrastructure associated with the generation of the school. 

The district, however, said that the college unsuccessful to create the is effective in accordance to agreed-upon conditions and deadlines, and equally events terminated the offer.

The municipality also extra that it did not concur to endlessly waive growth price fees.

That similar 12 months, Quest was sued by previous president Peter Englert for a breach of contract, which the faculty denied.

In 2018, the university addressed the potential for a conflict of interest with developer Michael Hutchison and David Fujimagari, equally of Bethel Lands Corp. 

At that time, the pair sat on the school’s board of governors, and their business owned some of the university’s college student housing structures. They had been concerned in a partnership with the university that was thinking about the construction of services on the school’s lands. Quest’s president at the time, George Iwama, said that actions had been taken to avoid a conflict of desire. The Bethel associates had recused themselves from matters involving their business enterprise pursuits. It is unclear what arrived of this partnership.

That very same year, Quest was sued over land difficulties by two charities that experienced addresses joined to the Benefic Group, which was then operate by Vancouver attorney Blake Bromley.

The Sea to Sky Foundation, which owned Quest’s lands at the time, transferred some of the land to the Stewart and Marilyn Blusson Foundation. This marked the start off of transactions that eventually saw a portion of land transferred to the Eden Glen Foundation and a further part to the World wide Charity Fund, according to the civil claim.

At the time, those charities alleged that Quest utilized to the District to have its land subdivided, presumably for the intent of further more housing enhancement, the lawsuit stated.

They alleged that if Quest created those units, it would subtract from the industry-housing cap for the land in the area, and would lower the total of units the charities could develop.

Later in 2018, The Squamish Main obtained documents from the provincial Degree Good quality Assessment Board by using independence of info ask for. The documents claimed Quest College faced a “crisis” in the wake of administrative and financial issues, but that federal government officials who reviewed the problem positioned religion in the school’s administration.

In Oct 2018, The Globe and Mail published a tale entitled, “Inside the charity community that has served wealthy donors get huge tax breaks – and their donations again.” It capabilities both equally Blake Bromley and describes his perform with Quest College, between other issues.

The next yr, Quest’s former government vice-president sued the school. I-Chant Andrea Chiang claimed a breach of agreement, declaring she was wrongfully terminated. 

 “Her termination occurred because she was involved carefully with the president, Dr. [Peter] Englert, who was recognised to oppose the improvement of certain Quest lands that Mr. Hutchison and Mr. Fujimagari, both equally then-governors of Quest, have been pursuing progress of,” the declare study.

In 2020, the school filed for financial protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. This transpired soon after its most significant loan provider, the Vanchorverve Foundation – a charity registered by Vancouver law firm Blake Bromley – termed in its bank loan of about $23.4 million.

Quest inevitably wound up selling off its campus in purchase to fork out off its money owed.

Less than this arrangement, Primacorp Ventures, headed by Peter Chung, now owns the campus buildings and lands, which are leased again to Quest.

About the time the deal was introduced in late 2020, Vivian Krause, an independent researcher, alleged in court that Quest University was unjustly denied donations as a consequence of questionable transactions involving charities linked to the university.

“One charity: $123 million. Another charity: $89 million. Sea to Sky Basis – which experienced no purpose other than to build Quest – it tax receipted $89 million. The design costs of the university have been only $32 [million]. If those donations experienced been genuine, Quest would’ve experienced – just from that one particular charity – it should’ve had $60 million. None of this full total continuing would have been essential,” Krause advised the court docket.

The Primacorp offer also prompted worry from the District of Squamish. Then-mayor Karen Elliott explained, amongst other points, that the municipality was concerned that it could go away “a for-income firm managing the lands, rather of a university of major standing, should Quest not do well.”

The municipality later approved zoning regulation changes that appeared to tie some of all those lands nearer to college takes advantage of, something Primacorp protested.

Immediately after the Primacorp offer, people with backlinks to Chung were introduced in to provide at Primacorp’s greater training division. The company bills itself as Canada’s largest provider of private submit-secondary training. Its higher instruction division furnished Quest with services these as recruitment and marketing and advertising. It had a identical arrangement with New York Town-primarily based The King’s Faculty, which is also struggling with monetary difficulties.

Scott Fehrenbacher and Mat Marquez, two previous Trinity Western College officials, the place Chung served on the board of governors, joined the division.

Arthur Coren, formerly of College Canada West, which Chung bought back in 2008, was brought in to serve as Quest’s president in 2022.

By 2023, the school declared that would indefinitely halt its educational system. Nevertheless, in spite of the optics, the university’s president says the university is not closing and will locate a way to reopen at some issue.

Times right after this announcement, it was discovered that considering that October 2022, the school’s lands and services had been listed for sale by NAI Commercial. The price is undisclosed and issue to a non-disclosure agreement for serious bidders only.

“Currently, a single lawful title (great deal 1), when subdivided, the remaining land will deliver for an estimated 38 acres of gross enhancement land for a amount of identified makes use of which involve market and non-industry housing, industrial enhancement, college utilizes, public elementary college and park commitment,” states the NAI Commercial flyer.

With a file from Bob Mackin.

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