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Tuesday, June 5, 2001

  • Ideas to create more housing
  • 'Community benefits' of research park
  • Spanish courses still offered
  • Teachers' donation, and more

Ideas to create more housing

Instead of all first-year students starting university in September, it might be possible to have some students begin their studies in other terms to relieve the fall term housing pressures.

Staggered start times are just one of the options being explored in response to a housing crunch expected to become more severe when the "double cohort" of high school students hits in 2003, and the "Baby Boom Echo" population bulge arrives over the next few years.

Other views

  • UWstudent.org

  • Imprint
  • The shortage of housing -- both on campus and off -- is most acute in the fall term, according to a report by the Student Housing Task Force, formed in 1999. The report was officially released yesterday. UW housing director Gail Clarke served on the task force, along with representatives of the UW Federation of Students, Wilfrid Laurier University, Conestoga College, the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo, the region of Waterloo, the local housing industry and area residents.

    The idea of some first-year students arriving on campus at the beginning of the winter term is "still at the discussion stage", Clarke noted. She said it has been raised in UW's senate and discussed by the deans, who would have to solve any academic problems that such a change produced.

    Contained in the Student Housing Task Force report -- to be presented to the City of Waterloo council June 18 -- are recommendations addressing how to increase the supply of student housing, improve the quality, suitability and affordability of student housing, reduce the negative impact of student housing on neighbourhoods, improve services related to student housing, and improve relationships among students, residents, landlords, municipalities, universities and the college.

    While nobody is bound by the recommendations, Clarke is optimistic the report will have an impact. "I view the recommendations as comprehensive," she explains. "I'm pleased to see that they are focused not just on increasing quantity, but take a holistic approach to student housing issues."

    The report recommends that by 2005, "the institutions move toward a position of accommodating 35% of their students who have moved to Waterloo Region for post-secondary education. "Currently," according to the report, "the University of Waterloo houses 33.1% of their students that require housing; Wilfrid Laurier houses 29.7% and Conestoga College houses about 14.8%." Those percentages will be higher by 2005, as new residences are built. But to meet the 35 per cent target in 2005, UW would still need 107 more beds, WLU would require 510 additional beds, and Conestoga College would have to add 78 more beds.

    "I feel we've been proactive with the renovation and expansion plan started in 1996 with Village I renovations," said Clarke. Plans are already in place to add 597 beds at UW by 2002 with the opening of the new Mackenzie King residence, and renovations at UW Place.

    Planning for future housing needs depends on a variety of factors, including demographics, the vagaries of provincial government funding, and "maintaining a high-quality institution" -- what Clarke terms "the competitive edge."

    Although the work of the task force is done, an implementation committee is being formed with many of the same members to ensure that the recommendations are acted upon. Among those recommendations are ones that "could help put more zing in bylaw enforcement," said Clarke, improving relations between students and other area residents, and one to increase the quantity and quality of off-campus rental housing.

    At today's board meeting

    The board of governors, UW's top governing body, will meet in Needles Hall room 3001, starting at 2:30 p.m.

    Besides the research and technology park, agenda items will include UW's 2001-02 budget; the state of planning for the Fiftieth Anniversary Fund capital campaign; changes to Policy 3, on sabbatical leaves; and a presentation from the co-op education and career services department.

    'Community benefits' of research park

    UW's planned "research and technology park" on the north campus has a lot to offer the Kitchener-Waterloo community, says a proposal document that's being put before the UW board of governors today.

    The board's building and properties committee will report on the planned park, which has already been endorsed by the city of Waterloo and by Waterloo Region. An application has been made for Ontario and federal government funding to get the park started.

    The board agenda includes a copy of the proposal sent to Queen's Park, describing what the R&T park will do and how it will be managed. Here's an excerpt from the section about how the larger community will be affected:

    "With an estimated 6,000 employees and $5-10 billion in anticipated economic impact, the R&T Park will become home to a large group of employers. This will mean increased employment levels and tax revenues for the province and the federal government, as well as an improved ability to compete internationally. . . . The quality of life of current residents of the Region of Waterloo will also be improved, since the R&T Park will help the Region of Waterloo retain business activity, jobs and high-tech talent, and will improve local transportation corridors. . . .

    "The R&T Park will feature 1.2 million square feet of office space and facilities for high-tech and research enterprises. The Park will include an accessible transit hub, with attractive landscaping, pedestrian trails, and state-of-the-art communications capabilities. Construction of the Park will be completed in three phases, with 400,000 square feet being built during each phase.

    "All prospective tenant companies for the R&T Park will have close synergies with UW's research and innovation activities. In addition, the development of the R&T Park will include an Accelerator Centre for start-up businesses, a 270-acre environmental reserve, access to a regional transportation corridor, cutting-edge connectivity, and improvements to surrounding infrastructure. . . .

    "UW's Campus Master Plan designates a 270-acre environmental reserve on the north campus along the Laurel Creek corridor. Funding for this portion of the project will be used to improve the condition of the reserve along Laurel Creek and around Columbia Lake. . . .

    "Building developers and architects will work with a set of design principles that require:

    "The Region of Waterloo is currently seeking to purchase a rail link to Downtown Kitchener, Uptown Waterloo, the University of Waterloo, the R&T Park site, existing high-tech nodes, and the St. Jacobs Market north of the city. The purpose of this initiative is to provide for a future commuter rail corridor. It will eliminate significant amounts of dangerous emissions, thereby decreasing pollution while providing a connectivity opportunity for the R&T Park and the remainder of the Region of Waterloo. Moreover, opportunity exists to develop walking trails roughly parallel to this route, providing enriched quality of life for employees of the R&T Park and local residents, and true integration of the R&T Park into the surrounding community. . . .

    "The project will provide for installation and improvement of roadways and underground infrastructure within and adjacent to the R&T Park. Generous landscaping and community trails throughout the R&T Park are also planned."

    The proposal says it will be necessary to make improvements to major streets surrounding the R&T park, including Columbia Street, Northfield Drive and Parkside Drive, and to complete the long-planned Westmount Road link across the north campus.


    Mayor is the guest at strawberry social

    The UW bookstore will hold its now-traditional spring strawberry social from 11:30 to 1:30 today. The store is in the South Campus Hall concourse. "Preview our summer reading selections," says the store's invitation. "Summer refreshments will be served." Special guest today is Lynne Woolstencroft, mayor of the city of Waterloo -- and I'm told that she will be publicly interviewed by UW political science professor Peter Woolstencroft, who is, er, her husband.

    At the "Bookends" café inside the bookstore, food services staff will be giving free samples of their new coffee, which comes from the locally owned Baden Coffee Co. "They feature a blend that's called 'fair trade coffee'," says Jeanie Watt of food services. "And it's cheaper, too." Bookends formerly served Starbucks coffee.

    Spanish courses still offered

    First-year Spanish courses are not disappearing from campus, in spite of what it said in Imprint last week, says Monica Leoni of the department of Spanish and Latin American studies.

    "The department would like to clarify that its program is alive and well," Leoni says in a notice issued yesterday.

    Imprint, the student newspaper, said in its June 1 issue that "Inadequate funding . . . has forced many department heads to cancel several courses offered by the arts faculty, including . . . Spanish 101 and 102, two of the most popular courses in arts." The department "has been receiving many inquiries" since the news story appeared, says Leoni, who is coordinator of the 101 and 102 introductory courses.

    The reality, she says, is that "only one section (out of 7) of Spanish 101 might be cancelled for the fall semester. Only one section (out of 6) of Spanish 102 might be cancelled in the winter 2002 term.

    "All other courses in the department will continue to be offered as they have been in the past."

    Teachers' donation, and more

    UW researchers studying how to improve the quality of life for elderly people are to receive the major share of a $500,000 donation from the Ontario Teachers' Retirement Village (Kitchener) Inc. at an event this afternoon in Matthews Hall. The donation supports research and enhances community education in aging being conducted by researchers affiliated with the Physical and Psychological Assessment Centre for the Elderly, based in UW's faculty of applied health sciences. It will be presented at 3:30 in the Clarica Auditorium of the Lyle Hallman Institute, west wing of Matthews Hall. Tours of the PACE labs for some of the elderly participants will follow. As well, today's event will feature research highlights on how to "to improve the quality of life for the elderly".

    It's day one of the green commuter challenge pitting Kitchener-Waterloo folks against those in Hamilton to see how many people can give up individual driving to work for a day or two or three. Sign-up is on the waste management office web site.

    Career development seminars continue. Today it's "Create Your Own Future" at 2:30; tomorrow it's "Successfully Negotiating Job Offers" at 10:30. The career resource centre in Needles Hall has more information.

    Tomorrow brings one of the regular surplus sales at central stores in East Campus Hall: everything from obsolete computer equipment to unclaimed lost-and-found items will be for sale, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

    A workshop on "Varying Your Teaching Activities" is scheduled for 12 noon tomorrow, sponsored by the teaching resources and continuing education office. More information should be available from TRACE, phone ext. 3132.

    And tomorrow afternoon brings a "dialogue" session at the LT3 learning centre, Dana Porter Library room 329. The session is titled "The Role of a Virtual Community in Learnware Development: The Clarica Scholars Program".

    Coming on Thursday: a talk by Jerzy Pindera, retired professor of civil engineering, on "From Political Prisoner to Resister: What I Learned During Five Years in a Concentration Camp". He'll speak at 7:30 p.m. in Humanities room 373.


    [UW logo] Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
    Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
    credmond@uwaterloo.ca | (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
    http://www.bulletin.uwaterloo.ca | Yesterday's Bulletin
    Copyright © 2001 University of Waterloo