Letter to the Editors, Volume 53 Issue 5: Admin on Trent Lands Plan

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash.

To Arthur Editors:

I read with interest the article by Elizabeth Beaney in the October 31, 2018 edition of Arthur and offer the following information in response.

Since the City [of Peterborough] is now the owner of the land on which they intend to build the Arena and Aquatic Complex, we have been encouraging anyone with questions or concerns about the plans to approach the City directly. However, it is important for the campus community to understand that the land was selected specifically because the site has, for many years, been the busy location for the University’s maintenance and grounds operations, a storage facility for the Ministry of Natural Resources, a baseball diamond, and former farm field.

The 24 acres are not part of, but rather adjacent to the nature areas, with the exception of two and a half acres of nature areas that will be returned to the Trent Lands in another location through the next evolution of the Trent Lands Plan. Studies completed by independent consultants for the City found no threatened or endangered species at risk on this site – and, as the author of the article notes, those studies are readily available through links on our site trentu.ca/trentlandsplan.

In recent months, we at Trent have turned our attention to updating the Trent Lands Plan. Our vision is of a sustainable and inspiring campus community, thoughtfully integrating the natural and built environments, with vibrant spaces to learn, innovate, be active, and live. Trent’s natural setting is more than a backdrop to our campus; we are committed to retaining 60% of Trent Lands as nature areas, buffers and corridors. The vision for the Trent Lands is outlined at trentlands.ca.

The purpose of the Trent Lands Plan is to guide the Board of Governors in their stewardship responsibility for the nature areas, to lead appropriate and thoughtful development on select parcels of our land, and to achieve a balance between these goals. The update is being conducted in two phases. In the first phase (September 2018 to August 2019) we will update the 2002 Nature Areas Stewardship plan. This involves identifying and mapping areas of ecological importance, such as the location and status of wetlands, and of cultural and archaeological significance on the Symons Campus. We are working with local First Nations communities and elders to incorporate traditional ecological knowledge and gikendamowin akiing (knowledge from the land). We will soon launch a survey to collect information on where teaching and research takes place on the land. We are also conducting more detailed four season studies on select endowment land parcels.

In the second phase (September 2019 to February 2020), we will take this learning and consider ways to further steward the nature areas, to further enhance and support learning on the land, and to decide the appropriate form and location for future developments. There will be multiple opportunities for the campus and local communities to provide their input during both phases of the plans. These opportunities will be communicated widely, and you can follow the progress at trentu.ca/trentlandsplan. We are also seeking to involve faculty and students in the data collection process.

The University’s Facilities and Grounds Committee, Nature Areas Committee, and Environmental Advisory Board, all of which include student representation, are involved in the process, which is being monitored by the Endowment Lands Committee of the Board of Governors. Questions can be directed to trentlandsplan@trentu.ca.

Julie Davis
Vice-President, External Relations and Advancement
Trent University

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