The ads, headlined, “Don’t let Trent sell out our campus to commercial interests,” ask students and Peterborough residents to call their city councillor to put a halt to the proposal. Trent’s administration is in the process of preparing a “Site Planning Process” with the city that is expected to be reviewed by Council in the next two months.
The proposal offers a 99-year lease for a private developer to build a high-density residence on lands backing onto University Heights.
“This proposed residence is not a residence; it is essentially a sell-off of highly-prized lands to a commercial developer,” said Matthew Martin of the No Private Residence at Trent (NPRT) coalition. “These are endowment lands that were donated by local businesses and Peterborough residents to Trent to be used for the public good, not private profit.”
The NPRT, which has campaigned actively since last spring against the project, has the support of the Trent Central Student Association, the Graduate Student Association, OPSEU 365, as well as the University Heights Neighbourhood Association and CUPE 3908, representing Trent University workers.
CUPE and student groups maintain that the intended project does not fit the current zoning, which is University/College.
Last spring, the Trent Central Student Association conducted a survey among undergrad and graduate students, of which 75 per cent voted against privatization.
The project will be a three- to four-story building with an apartment building, townhouses and possibly commercial space on the ground floor.
According to the coalition, there will be no Trent staff on site, no Trent services, maintenance, security, residence or college programming of any kind. Trent will not be the landlord, nor will Trent’s Housing Office place students there.