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Trent University draft plan for Symons Campus land is now available for public review

Trent University's Symons campus.
Trent University's Symons campus. Trent University

A draft for future use of the lands and nature areas on the Symons Campus at Trent University in Peterborough is now open for public feedback.

The university on Wednesday said the Trent Lands and Nature Areas Plan will serve as a framework for the “continued evolution” of its Symons Campus. The aim is to advance environmental education while preserving nature areas and to help address housing pressures and regional employment while fostering community connections.

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Julie Davis, Trent’s vice-president of external relations and advancement, says the plan also aims to generate a “sustainable source of income” to invest into advancing the university’s mission of creating a “sustainable and inspiring campus community, thoughtfully integrating the natural and built environments, with vibrant spaces to learn, innovate, be active and live.”

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The draft Lands and Nature Areas Plan is available for review online. Comments and feedback will be accepted until Nov. 1.

Among the “potential initiatives” highlighted in the draft plan are a seniors village with retirement homes and student housing and Cleantech Commons, dubbed Canada’s “premier” green technology research and innovation site. There are also possible housing developments along the banks of the Otonabee River.

“The Trent Lands and Nature Areas Plan is an exciting vision for the future of the Symons Campus, advancing our role as stewards of the environment, and positioning us to meet the future needs of the campus and community,” Davis said.

“The plan brings together many voices and ideas shared over the past two years to chart a course for continued positive impact and leadership.”

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The draft plan was completed in two phases. Phase 1 focused on documenting natural features and species and an archaeological study across the 600-hectare campus on the bank of the Otonabee River and more than 30 kilometres of nature trails. The phase also included feedback from Elders and members of the Michi Saagiig community shared Indigenous Traditional Knowledge.

Phase 2 focuses on opportunities to enrich campus life, enhance public spaces, foster connections and advance teaching and research.

“Through campus and community engagement, the importance of housing and employment, local services and amenities, food systems and the value of Trent to the community were expressed and are reflected back in the draft plan,” the university said.