Report: November 26, 2007


Report of the RESOURCE PLANNING AND PRIORITIES COMMITTEE of Erindale College Council held on Monday, November 26, 2007 at 3:10 p.m. in the Ante Room, #3129, South Building.

Present: A. Wensley (in the Chair), G. Averill, U. Krull, R. deSouza, D. Crocker, C. Capewell, V. Barzda, Y. Li, M. Braithwaite, N. Collins

Regrets: R. Reisz, C. Jones

1) Approval of Minutes of the Previous Meeting (October 22, 2007)

The minutes of the previous meeting were approved.

2) Reports of Committees and Officers:

a) Storm Water Management (SWM) Pond: report for information - Ray deSouza

Mr. deSouza reported that Business Board had approved the storm water management report and proposal at its last meeting. The executive summary of the report was made available to members with the notice of the agenda of the current meeting.

Mr. deSouza noted that the engineering study would be the next step in the implementation process. He reported that the total project cost for the project is estimated to be $2.7 million and is to be funded from the Mississauga Medical Academy ($650,000); the UTM parking ancillary ($450,000) and by borrowing to be repaid from the UTM operating budget ($1,600,000).

The site for the proposed SWM pond is currently in use as a parking lot (#4) and will result in the removal of approximately 298 parking spaces. Mr. deSouza noted that this site comprises the portion of lot 4b, which has consistently very low usage rates.

The final engineering drawing will be submitted to this committee for information.

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

In response to a member's question about whether fencing would be required, Mr. deSouza explained that since the pond would have a very gradual slope and since the deepest area of the pond would not exceed 3 meters, no fence would be needed for safety purposes.

In response to a member's question about operating costs, Mr. deSouza explained that the projected $2.7 is confined to capital costs. Operating costs would be significant if hazardous waste develops in the pond, which would manifest itself at approximately 10 to15 years into the life of the pond.

b) Ancillary services status reports and preliminary figures - Christine Capewell

Regarding the Residence operation, Ms. Capewell reported that in 2007, the University approved a plan where the ancillary's operating budget was in a surplus position in 4 years after the opening of Oscar Peterson Hall, and the total fund was in a positive position 13 years after the opening. According to university guidelines the ancillary is supposed to achieve this in 8 years. Ms. Capewell explained that a plan has recently been developed for getting out of an accumulated deficit 10 years after the opening Oscar Peterson Hall, which includes an annual break even position within 4 years.

Regarding Food Services, as of May 1, the accumulated deficit was at $500K. The operation has a plan to pay this down. The food ancillary has had a deficit in each of the last 5 years, but it is estimated that the accumulated deficit will be paid off in the next 3 to 4 years. A major problem that needs to be addressed is that the operation is currently 15000 square feet short in food service capacity compared to COU benchmark averages. There is also an added need to close Spigel Hall because it is not financially viable, which will add to the shortage of food service space. This is a significant issue to be addressed in the long-term plan of the operation.

Regarding Conference services Ms. Capewell reported that the budget has not yet been completed, but that it would likely be forecasting a positive budget as a result of good summer conference business. She noted that a number of large summer conference customers have not yet made the commitment to re-sign for the summer of 2008, which would have implications on next year's budget.

The Chair opened the floor to questions on the three ancillaries discussed above.

A member inquired about what solutions had been considered for the food services space issue. Ms. Capewell explained that one of the long-term plans of the operation is to occupy the space that would be left if the Office of the Registrar moves into the old library space. The window area of the Office of the Registrar would then be used for seating space, and Mr. Sub and some of the units in Spigel Hall would be combined into a large food service space, extending into the Meeting Place. There are also some preliminary discussions to have a food operation as part of the medical academy space. Other ideas include food service areas in the cement courtyard approaching the Five Minute Walk, the back patio of Athletics Centre, and space in the Kaneff Centre. All of these plans are in the very early stages.

Ms. Capewell continued her report with the parking operation. She noted that the transportation and parking subcommittee had met to discuss preliminary figures from the ancillary budget. Ms. Capewell reported that the parking operation was currently benefiting from improvements in management that have resulted in higher than forecasted revenues and a positive variance in the current year. These improved management practices, introduced by Alex MacIsaac, Manager of Parking and Transportation, included re-negotiating the cost of operating the pay and display machines.

She reported that the ancillary has a $100K utilities variance due to the CCT building and garage. The utility costs of the garage were much higher than expected, which has corresponding implications on the parking operation. The operating result for the parking ancillary was $198K better than budget. As mentioned by the Chief Administrative Officer, the parking budget will also contribute $450K to the SWM pond. Ms. Capewell explained that while the pond has a large implication on parking, there is no plan to replace the resulting lost parking spots; given current parking statistics, and no new significant enrollment growth, the parking office does not see a need to replace these spots.

Parking permit prices will be reduced by 5% and pay and display will be reduced from $13 to $12 per day. These reductions will still allow for a capital renewal reserve and an operating reserve.

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

The Registrar commented that over the next two years, U of T Mississauga will grow by at least 650 more students, to 11000 by 2010.

A member asked why it was necessary to reduce permit prices. Ms. Capewell explained that U of T Mississauga has had a 5 year plan for significant permit increases, but as a result of much improved operating practices, increases do not need to be at the level they have been over the past several years. She added that the ancillary does not need to collect an increased amount of revenue per permit if it has no plan to use that money.

The Chief Administrative Officer commented that campus growth to 11000 has been factored into U of T Mississauga's planning for parking.

3) New Business:

a) Old Field controlled burn implementation report - Prof. Nicholas Collins

Professor Collins noted that he reported to this committee at its last meeting about this proposal and was now ready to submit a detailed outline and ask for approval from members. The ‘Old Field' controlled burn proposal is attached hereto as Appendix A.

He explained that the need for this project was substantial since leaving the area in its current condition would mean losing an important area used in teaching and research. The space is rich in diversity and will be of great use in laboratory experiments. Professor Collins reported that conducting a controlled burn was the cheapest and most effective way of encouraging the kinds of organisms to grow that would be most useful for research. He reassured members that the type of controlled burn planned for the area would be carried out by a very experienced contractor, using sophisticated methods. He noted that the challenge will not be in containing the flames, but in keeping the flames hot enough for a successful burn.

Professor Collins reported that a meteorological station will be used to calculate weather indications, and the effects of wind. He noted that this kind of burn is very well controlled and is accepted by fire departments.

With regard to traffic, Professor Collins explained that the Outer Circle ring road is not going to be disrupted, so traffic control will not be needed; the burn will be contained in the area specified.

In terms of long-term management, he noted that this kind of burn would have to be re-done every few years.

It was duly moved and seconded,
THAT the Resource Planning & Priorities Committee recommend to Erindale College Council the controlled burn of the 'old field' as described in the attached proposal. (N. Collins/D. Pond)

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

In response to a member's question about the timing of the planned burn, Professor Collins replied that although planned for the spring of 2008, no specific date had been scheduled as of yet, but there would be signage and various communiqués throughout the campus to announce the date. He added that the university community would be able to use campus roads and parking lots normally. A formal burn plan, including a communications plan will be produced in early 2008.

The motion was carried.

The next meeting of the committee will be on Monday, January 14, 2008, when the ancillary reports will be considered for approval.

The meeting adjourned at 4:00 p.m.

Secretary _______________________________ Chair ________________________________