Our Vision for The Campus in Garneau
Preserve Garneau is aware of the pressures facing its University neighbour as it plans for its future. However, we believe that there is an excellent option open to the University of Alberta which would both preserve the older homes in the North Garneau campus and also meet the desires to utilize this land more effectively. There are a number of vacant lots on The Campus in Garneau; old homes used to occupy these lots. Depending on how one calculates them, there are at least 20-23 lots, several of which are contiguous, in the area under discussion.
Preserve Garneau has proposed to the University having a number of these lots in filled with architecturally compatible homes such as for student housing, and the area continuing to be used as it is presently. This area, which is vital to the continued survival of the residual community of North Garneau is a wonderful, vibrant and eclectic mix, a community that truly reflects the diversity of life found on the Campus and a living history of Edmonton's early architecture. Here we find diverse architectural styles reflected in fraternity houses, the Hope House, the Eco House, the Parkland Institute, and offices such as the Department of English Studies and Music. These uses could be expanded to include housing visiting professors. Details of the the history of the Garneau Campus Houses and residents can be seen by clicking on Garneau Campus
We envisage this area which has national historic value being developed and promoted as an historic area of the University of Alberta; this would be an unusual if not unique feature for a Canadian University Campus. Funding to improve the historical features of these somewhat neglected but nonetheless structurally sound homes is available on both the Municipal and Provincial level. In early December 2001, once we found that our own personal homes were no longer under threat, we conveyed this vision to the univeristy in response to the proposed plans for The Campus in Garneau. Accompanying this correspondence was a petition against demolition of these historic homes, signed by the vast majority of North Garneau residents and business people. A 1000 signature petition signed by Edmontonians opposed to the university's plans for the Campus in Garneau was also delivered to the University. After the 2002 LRDP Community Open Houses, Preserve Garneau repeated its concerns to the university in writing and presented to it what we believe is a viable and exciting alternative to their proposed plans for the Campus in Garneau. Despite these public concerns of the surrounding North Garneau community and the Edmonton community at large, the U of A's Board of Governors voted on June 21st 2002 to proceed with the destruction of this heritage area. Why a publicly funded institution would behave in this fashion and ignore the wishes of its own citizens raises some disturbing questions about why this historic area is slated for destruction. Preserve Garneau and the Sierra Club Prairie Chapter however are committed to continue the struggle to save this area and preserve its historic nature. We will keep you posted.
Saving the Best of the Past for the Future
email: doug.gorman at preservegarneau dot org