Environmental science students at Trent University in Peterborough are calling on the school and the city to drop plans for the proposed twin-pad arena which is slated to be built on university property in 2019.
The students are concerned about how the development could negatively affect the biodiversity in the area.
“We’ve counted over 800 species at our university and 24, no 25, we counted one more today are species at risk,” said Debbie Jenkins, a Trent PhD. candidate and environmentalist.
The Trent University students held a community engagement session at Market Hall on Monday night to raise awareness and inform the public on the loss of natural spaces to such developments as the 85-acre research and innovation park which has since been rebranded as the Cleantech Commons, and the new twin-pad arena set to be built in the spring of 2019.
“This development is not really keeping with our green reputation of our university,” said Jenkins. “Our campus is being converted very quickly with the number of developments.”
Alexandra Anderson is also a PhD candidate in the environmental and life sciences program at Trent and says the major concern for the new arena is it’s proximity to the wildlife sanctuary and the wetlands where it resides.
“Areas that were designated to be protected are being developed within,” said Anderson. “A major concern right now is the Trent University Wildlife Sanctuary and that includes the arena that will be built within the boundary of the wildlife sanctuary.”
City council has already given the thumbs-up for the arena to built at the corner of Nassau Mills and Pioneer Road.
Trent vice-president Julie Davis says in 2006, the university identified possible lands for development but also made sure 60 per cent of Trent’s property would remain green space.
“In 2013 we updated that plan, particularly to look for the opportunity of where an arena might be placed if we were successful in partnering with the city,” said Davis. “The location that was chosen for that (Nassau Mills and Pioneer Road) was an area that was already in use every day from our facilities department and the Ministry of Natural Resources.
“It’s not an undisturbed area right now and that was one of the reasons this place was particularly chosen.”
The Otonabee Region Conservation Authority protects and manages natural resources in the area and has signed off on the arena plan with conditions to protect the wetlands.
The Trent Students for Responsible Development say they will circulate a petition and try to halt the development of the twin-pad arena.
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