Minutes: October 20, 2008

University of Toronto Mississauga

Report of the Resource Planning & Priorities Committee meeting of Erindale College Council held on October 2, 2008 at 3:10 p.m. in the Ante Room, #3129, South Building

Present: A. Wensley; M. Tombak; R. Reisz; S. S. Munro; N. Basiliko; J.P. Paluzzi; N. Collins; V. Barzda; I. Orchard; H. Stevens; D. Crocker; D. Raffman;
Regrets: G. Averill; L. MacDowell; A. Fleming;
In attendance: C. Bryson; D. Kreuger; L. Paris; M. Overton;

The Chair welcomed the new members to the Resource Planning and Priorities Committee.

1) Approval of Minutes of the Previous Meeting (September 22, 2008)

The minutes were approved (I. Orchard/N. Basiliko).

2) A. Wensley Chaired the Election of a new Chair. I. Orchard nominated Robert Reisz and N. Collins seconded it. Robert accepted and will serve as Chair for another two year term.

3) Reports of the Sub-Committees:

Nick Collins: Grounds Monitoring Sub-Committee

The committee has two purposes to oversee grounds-related activities and to take an active role in moving the campus towards naturalization.

The committee has been working on areas of campus that are grass or waste ground or unused areas adjacent to wooded or natural areas, and naturalizing and maintaining them.

Special projects have been developed: monitoring the salamander population on campus, which is a threatened species. Old-field rehabilitation plan to move grassland to an old-field which required the controlled burn. Committee is now planning for a second burn in the spring of 2010 and nature walk maintenance.

Much of the community involvement is by Evergreen holding planting events and summer leadership camp.

There is substantial faculty involvement from M. Havelka who has students engaged in research and conservation.

Following on the burn, N. Basiliko and H. Wagner conducted an experiment to intensify the burn in certain areas, and control areas. There are now marked plots in the field that are being studied.

There will be increasing involvement by the academic part, as the program becomes fully developed, and more interesting to integrate with academia.

Funding: UTM contributes $20K which is mostly in-kind by Grounds staff. Evergreen provides half the funds through grant support. This allows for more complex activities than would otherwise possible.

This year M. Havelka’s 500 ecology student’s priority is the landscaping for the new pond.

The committee is aiming for burns every 5-10 years, using local resources.

The Chair opened the floor for questions:

  • A member asked about the tree-planting exercise, and how students might become more aware of the event. The majority of the participants were from outside the community, not students, and the member would like to see more student involvement. The member also noted that the Environmental Affairs website was outdated, with no listing of current events.
  • N. Collins thanked the member for the suggestions.
  • I. Orchard noted that there was much concern about the burn, but the day of the event, there was almost no notice and it made very little impact.
  • N. Collins agreed that there was substantial expectation for a fantastical fire, but it was underwhelming, leaving little to note on by the community members. The consultant also learned from the experience, so the next burn will be handled much more simply. The fire department will not be as concerned next time. Many of the small trees that were growing in the area are now dead, but the honeysuckle is still a problem.

Scott S. Munro: Parking & Transportation Sub-Committee

S. S. Munro reviewed the committee membership; their function is to advice RPPC on parking issues

Meets are held on demand basis only or when a need arises which usually happens around budget.

Parking is governed by phase 3 parking plan:
o How to manage parking through student growth.
o Accommodating demand without increasing parking footprint.
o Reducing parking spaces per capita to about 20%.
Although student enrolment is up, there has been no crisis in parking. The committee is working with Mississauga Transit to increase traffic to campus. The pricing increases are not out of line with other university campuses in Ontario. There are no waiting lists for parking. The committee is working to maintain our green profile.

The Chair opened the floor for questions:

  • A member asked if prices are in line with other campuses. There seems to be a discrepancy between daily rates and annually rates. If there was a lower or equivalent daily parking rate that some people would only drive occasionally but at the current rate $12/day people will invest in the annual passes because it’s more costly.
  • S. S. Munro noted that the $12/day is high, but not out of line with other campuses, hospitals, or other operations.
  • A member noted that the rates tend to punish occasional drivers and reward long-term drivers.
  • S. S. Munro mentioned that they’re trying to move away from the commuter campus model.
  • A member asked does the committee examine the shuttle bus.
  • S. Munro: yes, the committee considers anything that can dissuade drivers from parking. They will explore all avenues to promote public transportation.
  • M. Overton clarified that the shuttle bus is run by another body.
  • N. Collins suggested that perhaps daily tickets could be purchased in bulk, which would be cheaper than paying the full daily rate a number of times.
  • L. Paris suggested that guest passes could be purchased for departmental guests, visitors and university activities for $6.00/day...
  • S. Munro: the underground parking started at a very high price, which put more pressure on the inexpensive lots. By lowering CCT parking rates, this would reduce demand for outdoor parking. S. Munro will examine the issue raised of daily rates.
  • A member asked about shuttle bus for staff and faculty. M. Overton reiterated that it’s a student shuttle. All staff and faculty would have to pay whether they use it or not. There is some reluctance from staff and faculty. Orchard mentioned this would conflict with union agreements.

L. Paris: Signage Sub-Committee

This is a new committee which will hold their first meeting on October 28, 2008.

The committee has invited 16 people to participate; graduate students, undergraduate students, conference services, residence, library, athletics, and marketing.

Everyone who was invited has agreed to participate as they see it as a much needed issue.

At UTM inconsistent signage is the only standard.

The committee’s mandate is to review the present signage on campus and to make recommendations.

There are a few road signs which are problematic for visitors and emergency services. The signage is generally poor for the roads and the committee will clarify names of various the roads.

The building signs vary from six or eight styles that are currently being used. Larger signage is needed as signs can be hard to read at night. The new library has no signage except for the old construction sign which is still up.

The committee will address style and content of the new sign. The RAWC would like to have a sign that illuminated at night and could contain some digital signage to advertise special events.

Other universities have signage that provides extra information regarding campus activities. The library is interested in a sign but is waiting for recommendations from the committee.

Currently the parking signage and numbering does not make any sense. Perhaps the committee should consider naming the lots which would be a good idea. The parking signs have been relatively consistent but difficult to read at night.

The biggest challenge is the interior way-finding signage, which is convoluted and some of the signs are quite old. There is no consistency which is particularly difficult for new students or visitors.

Faculty of Engineering did big interior-way-finding activities which L. Paris was not aware of.

The St. George campus now has a consistent exterior signage map signage which includes accessible entrances. Also, for pedestrians, large maps and directories have replaced old signs. The St. George system appears to be expensive.

It has been suggested that all three campuses should have consistent signage.

The campus has three entrances which are all have very different signs. One sign even says ‘exit’ although the exit does not exists anymore.

The new committee will look at St. George’s signage, and will consider digital signage, particularly outside, and perhaps even inside. Interior kiosks would be very useful for visitors who often ask for building maps which do not exist.

L. Paris offered to return to RPPC with update.

A member encountered the fact that there were no floor plans available online to assist new visitors. L. Paris: Floor plans are too detailed or too small of scale. They need simplified floor plans to make available to visitors. L. Paris would like to see floor plans in each of the building lobbies or near entrances, particularly entrances close to parking lots. A simplified floor plans available online would certainly be helpful.

Chair: we will certainly want to see reports.

A member mentioned the committee should look at the signage standards for municipality or province which might be a good place to start. Also, the committee should be considered cost to avoid any major expenses.

Adjourned at 4:00 p.m.