Volume 93, Issue 35

Tuesday, November 2, 1999


New study aims to put doctors online

Journals to boost subscriptions

Guelph U's land plans anger students

Sculpture to be displayed on hill

2001 Census to include questions on sexuality

Theft and crank call-filled week


Buzz Mecca

Guelph U's land plans anger students

By John Intini
Gazette Staff

Administrators at the University of Guelph are not letting negative student feedback stop them from attempting to lease school owned property to private firms.

Darlene Frampton, director of public affairs at Guelph, said the school is going forward with a proposal to change the zoning policy of 43 acres of university owned property.

"We've made a request to the [Ontario Municipal Board] to make 18 of the acres in this area a commercial/retail zone which we could lease out to retailers," she said, adding the rest of the property has been set aside for office space and research facilities.

Carolyn Fenn, manager of the planning division of the Ontario Municipal Board, said a hearing concerning the proposal will start Dec. 6. She predicted it could run until February, depending on the number of witnesses and amount of evidence brought forward.

The area in question is on the outskirts of the school's main campus. Frampton described it as non-core land which does not have to be used for academic purposes under university policy.

Frampton added the money earned by leasing the land, would be put back into the school.

Josh Shook, local affairs commissioner with Guelph's Central Student Association said a referendum was held by the Association in mid-October on the issue.

With a 35 per cent voter turnout, the results of the referendum showed three students to one were opposed to the move, Shook said. "This plan is not going to help the students and their response to the referendum question is a decisive one."

Shook claimed the specific endowment fund this revenue would go towards has a clause which does not allow funds to be removed for 99 years. "The money is not going to come back to the students," he said.

Frampton rebutted this claim and said over $5 million has been used from the endowment fund over the last few years, to finance a number of programs on campus.

Shook said he has requested the right to raise the issue at the next Board of Governors meeting in December.

"The students did not get a say when administration decided to request a zoning change. All we're looking for, is for [administration] to re-visit the issue now that they know what the students want," Shook said.

Frampton said although 35 per cent is a large turnout, it must be noted that the majority of students did not vote. "We do value the opinion of our students, but this is something that will certainly benefit them," she said, adding the school will not back out of their plans.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999