Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338
March 22, 2004
Arboretum committee seeks input, plans meetings on campus, downtown
The University of Guelph’s Arboretum Master Plan Steering Committee has scheduled two more public meetings to obtain public guidance and feedback.
The first meeting will be held Monday, March 29, at noon in Room 103 of the University Centre. A second meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 7, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. in the council chambers at Guelph City Hall.
“Developing a new master plan is a consultative process,” said Robin-Lee Norris, a member of U of G’s Board of Governors who is chairing the committee. “We want to hear from the Guelph community, from groups who use the Arboretum and from more members of the University. We want them to tell us why they value the Arboretum and what they would like to see in its future.”
Such community input is crucial to the committee's work and mission, Norris added. “We want the new master plan to be a working tool, something the University and community can use for years to come, not something that collects dust on a shelf.”
Already, the Arboretum Master Plan Steering Committee has held public information sessions and visioning workshops. It has also identified important stakeholders such as school boards and horticultural organizations and is reaching out to these groups, holding separate meetings and soliciting input and information.
In addition, a study team has conducted a thorough assessment of the Arboretum to identify key issues, and focus groups have been formed to address issues and concerns. This includes the challenges of limited funding, deferred maintenance of roads and buildings, improving access and roadways, redefining land use and reviewing landscape gardens and collections, and demonstrating environmental responsibility.
“The Arboretum is one of the most highly regarded places at the University,” said landscape architecture professor Jim Taylor, referring to an alumni survey in which the Arboretum was listed among the top five favourite sites on campus. “There is something about it that makes people identify with and value it.”
Taylor, who is co-ordinating the master plan focus groups, said the committee hopes to learn what people envision the Arboretum being like in 20 years. “How can we continue to make it an integral part of the community? What can we do to make more people aware of what we do?” he said.
Comments and suggestions may also be submitted by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, and the committee has developed a website that provides information and updates about the new master plan. For more information on the meetings, contact Jim Taylor at 824-4120, Ext. 56870 or 58719.
For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.