Minutes: September 22, 2008


Report of the Resource Planning & Priorities Committee meeting of Erindale College Council held on Monday, September 22, 2008 at 3:10 p.m. in the Ante Room, #3129, South Building.

Present: R. Reisz (Chair); I. Orchard; A. Wensley, H. Stevens; D. Pond; D. Hill (for D. Crocker); G. Averill; S. Munro; N. Basiliko; N. Collins; W. Malik; A. Fleming; J.P. Paluzzi;

Regrets: V. Barzda; C. Jones; Y. Li; M. Levene;

In attendance: D. Kreuger; C. DeMarco; G. Richter; C. McGrath; M. Overton

The Chair welcomed all members back to the Resource Planning & Priorities Committee and thanked outgoing committee members for their service.

  1. Approval of Minutes of the Previous Meeting (March 24, 2008)
    The minutes were approved (D. Pond/I. Orchard).
  2. Reports of Committees and Officers:

    a) Update on residence, Chris McGrath (speaking on behalf of Dale Mullings):

  • Last spring the projected residence budget forecast was in a deficit in both 4 & 10 years. The aim is to come out of the deficit in 5-8 years as per guidelines from the Services Ancillaries’ Review Group (SARG). Over the course of the spring/summer, cost containment exercises were conducted and a better projection for the budget was achieved.
  • Now the forecast residence budget is back on track, and is projected to come out of an operating deficit in four years. The budget as previously approved by SARG had an operating surplus of $446,251 in year 4, but now the revised budget projects an operating surplus of $970,995 in year 4. The improved budget projections are due to cumulative savings netted in salaries, utilities, and other expense savings.
  • McGrath was also happy to report that 100% occupancy has been achieved in residence, with students reporting a high level of satisfaction with residence & food services.
  • The residence financial goal is to contain costs & increase revenues, yet still with the need to grow a capital reserve fund, for renovations will be necessary in years to come, especially for older residences. A residence capital planning exercise is planned for later this year.

The Chair opened the floor to questions:

  • In response to a member’s inquiry, McGrath indicated that there are ~1,500 students living in residence, a number which has doubled in the last eight years.
  • In response to a question about the off-campus student housing environment, McGrath responded that market demand for on-campus residence is sufficient now, but may not support substantial new residence growth. Therefore, the emergence of student housing off campus is a good thing, for it brings students closer to campus. UTM aims to work with off-campus housing collaboratively, in order to ensure standards and competitive rates.
  • A member inquired as to whether first year students were prioritized for residence. McGrath reiterated that first year students are guaranteed a place in residence, and shared that ~25% of the first year class currently lives on-campus.
  • A member asked about what assistance UTM provides to students who don’t get into residence. McGrath shared that UTM now runs an off-campus listing service, which offers an enhanced level of service. Landlords pay a fee to participate, and UTM receives a small percentage of the profit. These proceeds are used to support the administrative process in place to advise current and new students on off-campus accommodations

b) Update on Conference Services, Gale Richter

  • This spring Conference Services lost a long-standing client, so the summer forecast was originally quite bleak. With much hard work, however, they were fortunate to find four new groups to fill the gap. One group, Canadian Jr. Achievement Conference, may even return next year.
  • Revenues projected had been $299,397, but actual revenues were $455,237.
  • Food revenues are still unconfirmed, but up to $413,331.
  • Expenses have not yet been compiled, but will be higher than anticipated.
  • Overall there were 25 groups on campus; 10 housed in Oscar Peterson Hall. Total bed night: 15,284, up from 13,508 year before thanks to extra space in Peterson Hall.
  • UTM facilities are almost at capacity with respect to classroom use in July and August
  • Richter noted that classroom space was becoming hard to find for conferences, and that signage issues and directions to the campus/buildings on campus was the most frequent complaint from visitors (mostly new groups) and taxi-cab drivers.

The Chair opened the floor to questions:

  • I. Orchard mentioned that people can’t find Lislehurst either. He informed the committee that Len Paris is leading a signage committee, and they will look at naming of roads, building signage, and the like. Re-working of roadways will also be necessary.
  • A member asked if students would be represented on the signage committee, and I. Orchard replied that he wasn’t sure but would inquire with Len Paris.
  • A member noted that internal building maps aren’t accurate, and do more harm than good.
  • A student member thanked Conference Services for their help with the Canadian Federation of Students conference and for Orientation. The member also mentioned that there are dark areas around campus as well; particularly a problem around 5-minute walk near Erindale Hall. In response to this member’s concerns, I. Orchard informed the committee that undergraduate students sit on the campus safety committee, and he encouraged the student member to raise lighting concerns with that safety committee.

    3. New Business:

    a) Update on search for CAO, Ian Orchard
  • Ray DeSouza was recruited away from U of T Mississauga at end of August.
  • The CAO position was advertised, and 150 applications were screened down to 18 top candidates. A search committee will soon be appointed.
  • In interim, the direct reports of the CAO are meeting bi-weekly and working as a team rather than appoint an acting-CAO. The first few weeks have been fairly smooth.
  • The timing of an actual appointment of the new CAO is currently unknown.

The Chair opened the floor to questions:

  • A member inquired as to the membership of the ‘CAO-Team’ that is essentially acting as a collaborative CAO. Orchard identified the CAO-Team members as: Paull Goldsmith, Heather Stevens, Joe Lim, Anil Vyas, Bill Yasui, Devin Kreuger, Lynda Collins, Len Paris, and Bill McFadden
  • A member asked about Orchard’s ideal timeline for finding the new CAO. Orchard replied that he his primary concern was to find someone as terrific as Ray DeSouza, and that he would accommodate that individual’s own timeline. Much will depend on when the new CAO will be able to leave her/his current position. Orchard also shared that while there were some internal applicants, the majority were external to U of T.

A motion to adjourn was approved (I. Orchard/G. Averill), and the meeting was adjourned at 3:50 p.m. The next meeting of the RPPC is scheduled for Monday, October 20, 2008.