As indicated in a recent post, the University of Alberta is repurposing the former Balmoral Curling Club site (located across Belgravia Road) as a medical research and production facility, including the installation of a cyclotron to create medical isotopes for radiological cancer treatments. Activity on the site has begun.
There is an Open House on this project on Wednesday, October 26th (5:30-8:30 pm, with project presentation at 7 pm) at the Saville Community Sports Centre (Go Centre).
Here’s what the Belgravia Community League (BCL) would like you to know about this particular project, about development on South Campus (the former U of A Farm) and why you should consider attending the open house and finding out more about this proposal:
On the Balmoral site redevelopment
1. In November 2010, U of A administrators prepared detailed drawings and ordered equipment for radioisotope production
2. January 2011- Neighbourhood representatives on the University’s community committee (included Belgravia representation) were told that the future of the site was undecided
3. May 2011- BCL was contacted by the University and told that the U of A was considering two options for Balmoral site– one a vehicle pool, the other the radioisotope facility
4. May 26th, 2011- Representatives of BCL and other neighbourhood leagues attended an information meeting, asking for a response as to the suitability of the Balmoral site options, towards further public discussion and engagement. Detailed notes from that meeting can be found here.
5. June 2011- Email from David Ridley, BCL President to U of A indicates that either of the options presented at May 26th meeting could be suitable, subject to further public discussion and information, but indicates that facility purpose is not consistent with the U of A’s long range development plan for the site developed in 2002, which was produced after substantial consultation with neighbouring communities and approved by the Minister of Advanced Education.
6. September 2011- without further public discussion, U of A awards a contract for construction of the radioisotope facility, begins construction activity and notifies residents of open house on October 26th. (Same situation as the GO Centre– consultation after construction begins)
On South Campus development
1. U of A has massive development plans for South Campus that will affect those of us in adjacent neighbourhoods, including Belgravia. Plans include residences for 7000 students, twin arenas, a fieldhouse, aquatics centre, 3 new parkades and a number of new roads and intersections to provide access. The most recent Long Range Development Plan for South Campus was approved in 2002 and involved significant neighbourhood consultation. That plan made a commitment to public transportation, cycling and walking in South Campus development.
2. Belgravia Community League is responding to the U of A’s approach to South Campus as a member of the South Campus Neighbourhood Coalition (SCNC), which is comprised of nine community leagues around South Campus, which are home to 20,000 residents.
3. In July 2011, the Minister of Advanced Education (Province of Alberta) wrote U of A administration to request it work with SCNC on a collaborative process for long-range development for South Campus. One meeting is held between SCNC and UA administrators (Aug 31st). U of A refuses a follow-up meeting to continue discussion.
4. Here’s an excellent article by the Edmonton Journal’s Sheila Pratt on SCNC and the issues, published in the Journal, June 23rd, 2011.
Given the inconsistency of meaningful public consultation and the U of A’s advancement on construction, BCL’s president has retracted the statement indicating general suitability of the options presented at the May 26th information meeting.
As a member of the South Campus Neighbourhood Coalition, BCL is seeking meaningful neighbourhood consultation and a long range development plan with a formal commitment from the U of A to adhere to that plan and to ensure that it is followed.
The U of A needs to hear this message from residents, repeatedly. Plan to attend the open house on October 26th or follow-up with comments after this date to firstname.lastname@example.org, the University’s contact for this consultation. Please cc email@example.com with your comments, as well.