Durham College and UOIT are developing a campus master plan (CMP), but how is the community being represented?
There is an advisory committee made up of various campus staff, Oshawa city council members, students, and local business owners numbering between 40 and 50 members.
The CMP is still in the works and nothing is definite yet. The main goals are to create walkability, establish a vibrant hub, and enhance a sense of place. The land north of Conlin Road, known as Windfields Farms, has already been acquired and the school is looking to expand to that area.
There are four students on the committee to represent their peers, two each for Durham College and UOIT. Mikki Decker a student in the Child and Youth Worker program was recommended because she is a part of several different student associations including the SA board of governors and the DC crew.
“I wanted to join because it was an opportunity to be a voice for the student body,” said Decker.
Decker’s main recommendations to the committee are healthier and more diverse eating options, improved parking, and more study space. Some students agreed with these suggestions.
Chelsea Kiupers of UOIT thinks students need more study space, better classrooms, and more variety in restaurant choices.
Tyler Haydeman of DC believes the most important changes for the campus would be either parking or anything to make public transit more efficient.
Students were pleased to have students representing them but had similar opinions with regards to the number of students on the committee.
“Four students is not enough because some students don’t even go to into some buildings,” said Kiupers.
She thinks more students from different schools of study are needed to represent the campus. Haydeman said each school of study should have four students representing it, including the Whitby campus.
The Windfields Farms subdivision is the closest residential area to where the future expansion will happen. The subdivision is in close proximity to the campus at the corner of Conlin and Simcoe.
In 2011, the Cedar Valley Homeowners Association was in a legal battle with the city over student housing by-laws. Many residents complained about illegal lodging homes, parking issues, and noise.
“I don’t think there will be a concern mainly because of the space that is around Durham and UOIT currently,” said Decker. Several residents from the Woodbine Avenue area said they weren’t worried about the college expanding. Many agreed they haven’t had any issues living close to the college.
The residents interviewed did not want their last names mentioned.
The community may have concerns but both students and residents have positive attitudes about the college expanding.