Minutes: March 23, 2009

MEETING OF THE RESOURCE PLANNING AND PRIORITIES COMMITTEE of Erindale College Council held on Monday, March 23rd, 2009 at 3:10 p.m. in the Ante Room, #3129, South Building.

Present: R. Reisz (Chair); D. Kreuger; N. Collins; P. Goldsmith; P. Donoghue; D. Crocker; A. Wensley; C. Capewell; I. Orchard; A. Fleming; J. Lim; D. Raffman;

Regrets: N. Basiliko; V. Barzda;

Guests: C. Bryson; M. Overton;

Call to order: 3:10 P.M.

1) Approval of Minutes of the Previous Meeting (January 19, 2009)

The minutes were approved.

2) Reports of Committees and Officers:

a) Signage Committee update – Paull Goldsmith (on behalf of Len Paris, Manager Campus Police)

The Signage Committee Report from Len Paris is attached. The committee was struck to look at signage, including way finding to make recommendations on signage across campus. There are six sub-committees: external, vehicular way-finding, pedestrian way-finding, building identification, technology, design standards. Each sub-committee has its own recommendations, as per the report.

The Chair opened the floor to questions and comments.

  • I. Orchard acknowledged that he appreciated the report, and he extended his thanks to all the members of the committee. He reported that since the report had been submitted, he had received additional information from UTSC, which will aid UTM should the campus move ahead with phasing in the recommendations.
  • A member mentioned that he has suggested that a very small working group move ahead with the campus entrance signs and external way-finding signs, starting with the exterior, then move interior.

b) Parking Ticket update – Alex MacIsaac, Manager Parking & Transportation

A. MacIsaac reminded the committee members that the problematic issue has been that individuals were being ticketed in error, and they had to go off campus to deal with the ticket. He reported that he has met with the City to begin the process of changing this, so that tickets issued at UTM could be dealt with at UTM. He hopes to have this solution up and running in the next few months, which will eliminate the off-campus inconvenience.

The Chair opened the floor to questions and comments.

  • A member reiterated that she had to deal with the City twice to get the ticket reduced to zero. The first trip was to argue that there was a pass, and the attendant only had authority to cut the fine in half. The second trip was to appeal.
  • A member had e-mailed a question to the Chair: Why does UTM not police ourselves and keep the revenues? A. MacIsaac clarified that last year there were 15,000 tickets issued and the revenue was ~$450K. There are pros and cons for the campus to writing our own tickets and being responsible for collection and compliance. The St. George campus has analyzed this, but if the institution were to issue their own tickets, would people pay them? It is important to consider collection rates and compliance rates. It would be a relatively small source of revenue, and the revenue would not be worth the effort and the expenses. The current set up encourages compliance.
  • The Chair inquired as to what the campus could do to reduce the number of tickets issued. A. MacIsaac expressed that encouraging people to pay for parking with day-passes or long-term passes is the goal of the ticketing. Yet some people don’t pay for their parking, which is problematic.
  • A member said he was reminded of a student who wrote into the Medium saying that he didn’t pay for parking, and was ticketed 17 times. Paying those 17 tickets was much cheaper than paying for a parking pass. The member wanted to know why the campus does not tow cars away more often? A. MacIsaac clarified that they do tow relatively often, when a car has 3 or 4 unpaid tickets registered to it. The likelihood of getting a ticket today is greater than it was three years ago, due to better policing.
  • A member mentioned that ticketing can be looked at as a revenue source but then you carry the expenses, an appeals mechanism, and so on. Alternatively it can be seen as a compliance issue, and from that perspective, revenue for parking passes goes up due to the increased likelihood of getting a ticket.
  • I. Orchard clarified that there is data to support this perspective. Prior to the City, UTM did issue it’s own tickets, and the revenue for daily parking is much higher now than when UTM did its own ticketing. A. MacIsaac reiterated that revenue is a function of enforcement.

c) Report from the CIO – Joe Lim, Chief Information Officer

J. Lim reported that his team is working with St. George to set a date for further Exchange training on campus. Peter Eden, the Exchange project manager, will likely come to UTM to answer questions from users. An e-mail will be circulated once the details are finalized.

The CIO’s team is working on a number of projects. One is look into wireless for residence, and they going through a number of vendors to explore this possibility. Also, they are looking at prolonging the lifespan of the equipment in the computer labs, so that a hardware upgrade isn’t necessary every three or four years. They are working with vendors to see if there is a good return on investment to pursue this plan.

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

  • A member inquired as to the nature of the technology to prolong the life of the hardware. J. Lim clarified that they are considering a virtualization model. It’s a way for the desktop to get processing power and applications from the server, so only servers need the power.

d) Science Campus & Instructional Facility update – Ian Orchard, Vice-President & Principal

I. Orchard reported that as the government has indicated that Federal & Provincial infrastructure grants are a possibility in the near future, UofT has given approval to UTM to accelerate the planning for two key projects, despite the fact that funding for those projects has not been identified. This way the projects can be pre-approved and be ‘shovel ready’ so they can be built quickly if/when funding is secured. UTM is low on COU space standards for teaching facilities, so one of the projects is to build new instructional facilities. Also, UTM has for a long time needed improved science research facilities, so that’s the second project. Project teams have been meeting weekly to analyze the needs and demands, and they are aiming to have the project committees through UofT governance at different schedules. The instructional facility plan will be complete for April 17th, and the science campus plan is aiming to be ready to be approved through the UofT governance process this fall.

A Federal government call for infrastructure proposals has already been issued, with a March 31th deadline, so the instructional facility team is aiming to submit a proposal for that deadline.

The current estimated cost for the instructional facility is $70M. It will offer many new classrooms, student study-space, a computer facility, and some food services avenues that Bill McFadden is recommending. This building plan would allow us to get much closer to COU standards, and will facilitate growth in the future. The facility will improve the quality of experience for current students. At this time, there is some speculation that if funding is secured, the building may be located on Parking Lot #2, close to the library.

The science complex is a more complicated project, and is therefore taking longer to plan. The plan involves new research space and offices, and is intended to free up space to renovate teaching labs in South Building. The rough plan at the moment is for the building to be erected outside the South Building close to where the current lecture halls are located. The cost of the building project, which includes renovations to the South Building, is approximately $170M. The plan is to build offices and labs for 32 science faculty, and to move thematic research groups and clusters into that building. Plus there will be a new Vivarium underground, with an expanded aquatic facility in the existing Vivarium space. The vacated space in the South Building would be renovated into better research space and improved teaching labs.

The Chair opened the floor to questions:

  • A member asked if there was a plan to build a connection between the new science building and the health science building. I. Orchard explained that architectural details aren’t all in place. However, it is expected that the science building will be connected on all floors of the South Building, so as to be able to access critical services.
  • The Chair expressed a concern that research space is planned for both the imminent Health Sciences building and this new science building, and there may be some overlap that can cause confusion. I. Orchard explained that the plans for the Health Sciences building are complete, and that the campus hopes to break ground on that project later this year. If funding for this new science building is approved, it may change who exactly moves into the Health Sciences building, but all the labs are still desperately needed. He also noted that the Health Sciences building will be erected at least two years before the science building, so the space will still be used.

3) The next meeting of Resources, Planning and Priorities will be in September 2009.

4) The meeting adjourned at 4:02 P.M.