University Village consultation set to commence

Taylor Rocca, Copy/Web Editor Ω

SFU's UniverCity (pictured) is one of the model's for TRU's University Village. - Photo by Soggybread/ Wikimedia Commons

SFU’s UniverCity (pictured) is one of the models for TRU’s University Village. – Photo by Soggybread/ Wikimedia Commons

TRU and the TRU Community Trust (TRUTC) will be hosting a University Village information and consultation session Thursday, Feb. 14 from 4 to 6 p.m. This is the first of three public consultations.

The consultations are open to all TRU students, staff and faculty, as well as members of the greater Kamloops community.

University Village is a part of TRU’s long-term campus master plan.

According to presentations and releases from TRU, the goal of the development is to create greater population density on campus through the construction of additional housing and accompanying outlets such as grocery stores, entertainment, restaurants and other basic services.

“Having more housing and services right on campus will help with student engagement,” said Peter Hilton, former vice-provost students, in a release from the TRU newsroom Jan. 9, 2012. “The village concept will make the campus more alive, especially when classes aren’t on. Students will stay on campus more during weekdays before, between and after their classes and will come to campus more on the weekends.”

Not only is this viewed as a way to build a more engaged campus, it is also intended to improve the overall sustainability of TRU by decreasing the commuter population.

“TRU and the City of Kamloops are working together to make alternatives to car transit attractive to people and increase the walkability of campus,” Tom Owen, director of environment and sustainability, told the TRU newsroom on Jan. 9, 2012.

TRUTC was announced on Nov. 14, 2011 and is a corporate trustee that will oversee and manage the University Village development. TRUTC is a separate legal entity from the greater university, though it is owned entirely by TRU. This allows TRU to engage in commercial activity it would otherwise be unable to do as a non-profit entity.

As the owner of the TRUTC, TRU will collect all revenue generated by the trust.

TRUTC is being managed by a board of directors, consisting of 11 members, five of which come from the TRU community and six of which come from outside TRU.

In order to achieve the development goals laid out, the TRUTC board of directors will include TRU’s president, vice president administration and finance, a faculty representative, a student and one member of the TRU board of governors.

It has also been stipulated that the six external members of the TRUTC board of directors must collectively bring expertise and skill sets that will help focus and further the development of the project. The specific expertise highlighted include property development, venture capital, business and marketing.

The project is being based off a similar concept seen at Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) UniverCity. According to UniverCity.ca, SFU’s community is home to more than 3,000 people, 40 per cent of which are SFU students, faculty or staff.

TRUTC is also based off the SFU Community Trust, the separate corporate entity in control of SFU’s UniverCity community.

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