Report: October 22, 2007

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO MISSISSAUGA

Report of the Resource Planning & Priorities Committee meeting of Erindale College Council held on Monday, October 22, 2007 at 3:10 p.m. in the Ante Room, #3129, South Building.

Present: R. Reisz (in the Chair), I. Orchard, G. Averill, D. Crocker, U. Krull, V. Barzda, C. Jones, N. Basiliko, D. Pond, C. Capewell, N. Collins, M. Braithwaite
Regrets: T. Al-Sarraj, Y. Li, R. deSouza
In attendance: Aubrey Iwaniw, sustainability coordinator, Prof. Brian Branfireun, Department of Geography

1) Approval of Minutes of the Previous Meeting (September 24, 2007)
The report of the previous meeting was approved. (I. Orchard/C. Capewell)

2) Reports of Committees and Officers:

a) Report from the Grounds Monitoring sub-committee - Prof. Nicholas Collins

Professor Collins described how the Grounds monitoring subcommittee and Naturalization Committee function and listed their membership. He noted that the Naturalization Committee is composed of the same members as the Grounds monitoring subcommittee, but also includes external members. The parks department supports the work of these committees by providing in kind support and expertise. The Committees' budget of $30,000 consists of $10,000 of in-kind support from partners and is 40% funded by U of T Mississauga, while the remaining 60% is funded by grants. He noted that the function of the Grounds monitoring subcommittee is to review projects that greatly impact campus grounds and make appropriate recommendations on implementation with respect to naturalization.

Professor Collins reported on the planting and stewardship activity for 2007. In the area of lot 9, the theatre and the pond, 650 trees and shrubs were planted with the assistance of 484 volunteers. Near the CCT building and the pond, 679 flowers and grasses were planted with the help of 249 volunteers. In addition, mulching and weeding was done near CCT, lot 9 and the South entrance with the help of 50 volunteers. Professor Collins emphasized that a large component of these plantings is the work of the BIO205 class, Kids Community Service and Community On Campus volunteers. He noted that 1.3 hectares of land had been planted since 2003, generally adjacent to natural areas and designed to recover areas that had been eroded by lawn mowing.

Professor Collins described the Current focal project of the Grounds monitoring subcommittee, which is the rehabilitation of the so called ‘old field' area, located on the far side of Argonauts huts and by the Credit River. This area has been used for teaching activities since the origin of college. There is currently an increased need for teaching and research uses, while at the same time field habitats are disappearing. He noted that the area is a potential refuge for disappearing species, with this kind of habitat becoming rare in Southern Ontario. A plan has therefore been formulated that would remove existing trees, shrubs and exotics and replace them with native species. A consultant has been hired to inventory the area. Their report has concluded that the best way to implement the re-naturalization of this area is through a controlled burn. The cost is estimated to be $5000 and will be covered by grants. Professor Collins noted that a controlled burn was an established procedure, supported by the City of Mississauga and would be planned for spring 2008.

Professor Collins asked for feedback from members on the controlled burn. It was pointed out the timing of the controlled burn would have to be coordinated carefully with the practice time of the Toronto Argonauts as well as the construction phase of the storm water management pond. Members also noted that the signage and communication with campus neighbours would need to be coordinated. In response to a member's question, Professor Collins explained that spring is the preferred time for the controlled burn. The Registrar noted that there is a two-week timeslot at the end of April/beginning of May during which there are no classes, so that timing would also need to be coordinated with the Office of the Registrar. A member asked about alternatives to a controlled burn, and noted the pollution associated with burning. Professor Collins explained that alternatives have to do with cutting the trees, bushes and other vegetation in question and treating them with herbicides, at a cost of $1500/day. In addition, such cutting and treatment with herbicides would not have the benefits of producing habitat sufficiently good for germinating native species. He noted that the burn would take approximately one day.

Professor Collins continued his report by discussing the recommendations of the Grounds monitoring subcommittee to the storm water management pond implementation report. He explained that the pond was required by the Credit Valley Conservation Authority to compensate for the hardening of surfaces resulting from the capital expansion of the campus. The proposed location of the pond is where the entrance from The Collegeway turns towards the outer circle, on part of lot #4. The Grounds monitoring subcommittee looked at the proposal and commented that the pond would serve well for aesthetic purposes and would be deep enough that it could potentially house fish populations for research use on campus. The committee recommended that the pond would serve the desirable aesthetic purpose if a professional landscape plan was commissioned and if large trees were planted early in the process. He also noted that the Naturalization Committee would like to participate in the landscape plan implementation.

In response to a member's question, the Vice President & Principal replied that the full proposal for the pond has been submitted to the Planning and Budget Committee of Governing Council for approval. The full report, which is posted on-line on the Governing Council website laid out the approximate costs, sources of funding and the estimated number of parking spots that would be lost as a result of the pond's location. He noted that the pond would be partially funded by the Mississauga Medical Academy.

The Chair noted that material regarding the storm water management pond would be presented to the present committee at its next meeting by the Chief Administrative Officer.

b) Parking report: Christine Capewell, Director of Business Services

Ms. Capewell reported that the move of the business services office and the parking office to Alumni House went well, and that the parking office has experienced smaller lineups.

She reported that although lot #2 parking spots are sold at a premium price, they continue to be in very high demand. She reported that the City of Mississauga has been doing a great job at parking enforcement. In addition, she reported that lot #8 had been resurfaced, which was a high priority since the lot was very well used during the construction of the Wellness Centre. In addition, crosswalks have been improved and the lot 4 booth removed.

Ms. Capewell announced that the parking office was open from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. to meet customer service needs. She also reported that the parking office was gearing up for the construction of the stormwater management pond and its secondary effects, the effect of which is an estimated loss of 296 parking spaces. Ms. Capewell noted that most of the lost parking spaces were going to be in Lot 4B, which is a virtually unused parking lot. There may be some relining of lots to optimize space, but there are no other plans to replace these spots, as most of them are unused.

Ms. Capewell reported that the U of T Mississauga now has access to Zip car for short-term driving needs. Users must have a credit card and they can access one of two Zip cars housed in the CCT garage. For detailed information she directed members to the parking office.

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

In response to a member's question about whether the introduction of UPass has reduced parking demand, Ms. Capewell explained that it had not generally affected parking demand.

A member suggested that the demand for carpooling spaces should be reviewed, so that those spots not regularly used should be added back into general circulation. Anther member suggested that before removing carpooling spots, they should be marketed more effectively. A member added that there was a lot of informal carpooling occurring that may not fit the exact program requirements.

Another member asked if above-ground parking garages had been considered. Ms. Capewell explained that such projects had been considered, but as a result of their very high cost, parking rates would have to be increased to a degree not sustainable by users.

3) New Business:

a) Environmental affairs report - Aubrey Iwaniw, Sustainability Coordinator

Ms. Iwaniw reported that her office was established in May of 2004 and reports to the offices of the Chief Administrative Officer and the Chair of the department of Geography and works in partnership with Smart Commute and Evergreen. She directed members to the office's web site at: http://www.utm.utoronto.ca/green.

Ms. Iwaniw continued her presentation by discussing transportation alternatives at U of T Mississauga. A universal bus pass is now available to full-time students through a non-refundable $89 incidental fee to ride Mississauga Transit fare-free. She noted that 7400 students actively picked up their pass in September. She announced that a new bus route - Clarkson GO - was available for use to GO Transit riders for 55 cents per trip. She also highlighted the carpool and zip car programs on campus.

Regarding campus re-naturalization, she noted that up-to-date monitoring records have been created for all 20 re-naturalization sites on campus to track species health.

Ms. Iwaniw announced that Chelsea Stewart, a recent graduate has been hired as the environmental inventories coordinator for the campus; she would conduct an light bulb, refrigerator, and insulation inventory.

She concluded her presentation by highlighting student engagement in the work of the environmental affairs office. Over the past year, the office engaged 30 work-study positions, 4 casual student positions, a bike share coordinator and a smart commute intern position. These positions are funded by various sources including, U of T admissions and awards, HRSDC, a student levy (bike share intern), Smart Commute partnership funds and the department of geography.

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

A member remarked that more resources need to be invested in promoting recycling and noted that recycling in the townhouse style residences is a problem. He also noted that students will often ask for Styrofoam containers to go in Colman Commons, but then stay and eat in the dining hall. It was noted that Chartwells would need to be part of these discussions.

b) Ministry of Environment Monitoring Station - Prof. Brian Branfireun

Professor Branfireun announced that U of T Mississauga has been presented with a unique opportunity to have an air mercury monitoring station installed on campus. The enclosure will be located at the back of lot #8, and will be online by the end of October. Mercury monitors will be installed over the next few months. Professor Branfireun noted that this Ministry of Environment Monitoring Station offered a great opportunity for educational and research purposes and was a very high profile installation. The ministry is to cover the cost of power to the station and two phone lines.

The Chair noted that the next meeting date would be notified by email. The meeting adjourned at 4:25 pm.

Secretary _____________________________ Chair _________________________________