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A Call for Stories: the Trent Lands and Nature Areas Draft Plan

Written by
and
October 21, 2020
A Call for Stories: the Trent Lands and Nature Areas Draft Plan

On October 13, Trent University released the Final Draft of the Trent Lands and Nature Areas Plan (TLNAP).

This Plan has been underway since 2017 and serves to update the 2002 Nature Areas Stewardship Plan, the 2006 Endowment Lands Master Plan and the 2013 Trent Lands Plan. The Plan is a “long-term land management framework for the continued evolution of the Symons Campus” and it will guide Trent’s land-use for future development in the decades to come. Trent currently holds 600 hectares of land, and over 30 km of nature trails.

The Plan, in its entirety, amounts to 160 pages. There is a Summary Report available, but we have also highlighted a few details below:

- 60 percent of land will continue to be natural areas and green space.

- The Plan includes a proposal to move the Experimental farm to an area zoned as “pending further assessment” on the framework plan map. This move includes the relocation of several student-led agricultural projects:

  • The growing space of the Trent Vegetable Gardens, a 15-year-old organization funded by student levies that supplies food to the Seasoned Spoon Cafe on campus. The proposed Road B to the Cleantech Commons will run through the south-west corner of the field garden. As well, relocating the Trent Market Garden, and the Trent Apiary.
  • The Plan stipulates that the move seeks “a permanent location for the Trent farm assets, faculty and the wider community and has potential for expansion in the future” (pg. 56).

The University is inviting community members to share their feedback through an online forum. Originally this public review period was slated to run from October 13 - November 1; however, after several community members voiced concerns about whether this would be enough time for effective community engagement, the University extended the deadline until January 4, 2021 at 11:59pm.

Previously, the University conducted two other phases of consultation. In the first phase, entitled ‘Understanding the Land’, the University hired consultants to develop a background report around environmental assessments, Indigenous traditional knowledge, landscape design, community feedback and archaeological considerations.

In the second phase, consultants focused on identifying Trent’s land-use priorities, as well as the guiding principles that will be used to make land-use decisions moving forward. They held open sessions at Trent and in town.

The University's consultation plan for TLNAP

This October 2020 draft of the TLNAP aims to bring together the University’s findings from Phase 1 and 2. This third phase of consultation - the public review period - marks the final community consultations that the University will engage in before the plan will be set for approval by Trent’s Board of Governors.

And while we are still early in this period of public review, conversations about the Plan are well underway. On Friday, October 16, the Trent Vegetable Gardens posted the following statement to their Instagram page:

“In its recently released Lands Plan draft, Trent details its intention to displace our 15-year-old garden in order to develop the land it sits on. We've devoted countless hours to building this beloved space and want to continue serving our campus community. Help us tell Trent that our campus growing spaces matter! Follow the link in our bio to read the plan and give your feedback.”

The Plan also made headlines in the opinion section of The Examiner. John Desbiens, a member of the Trent Board of Governors and CEO of Cambium - an engineering and consulting firm, approached TLNAP from a more promotional perspective, writing that “the vision, presented by what is effectively a community itself, is critical to our region's green, economic and social future.”

As Desbiens sees it, the Plan is the product of “expert contribution, exhaustive community consultation, and study of the natural environment.” He encourages community leaders and citizens “ to read the plan with an eye for supporting the success of Trent, and as a result, the success of our region.”

The conversation and consultation around Trent’s Lands and Nature Areas is very much ongoing. Consultation is a right that is so often treated as a privilege. Until January 4, this community has the opportunity to exercise this right. Arthur is asking for your articles, your thoughts, opinions, commentary and reporting because we believe this will spark the necessary conversations about the future of our campus. If you are part of the Peterborough-Nogojiwanong community, the Trent community, now is the time to make your voice heard.

If you are interested in writing about any aspect of the Plan or its implications, please send us an email (editors@trentarthur.ca). To participate in the public review of the TLNAP, you can fill out the online survey here.

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