From: Peltier, John
Sent: Monday, January 26, 2004 7:33 PM
Subject: North Garneau Development Plans
I was recently forwarded some information on your development plans for the Garneau neighborhood and I felt compelled to write a quick email. I think your plans are deeply flawed and should be reconsidered. I spent two years as the President of the Student's Association of North Garneau while I was a student at the University of Alberta, and I feel I gained an appreciation for the contribution the Garneau residence makes to the University community. Since leaving the University I have spent three years in public accounting and a further six years as an investment banker, which has given me an appreciation for all matters financial. I mention this because I have assumed that the University's motivation for this renovation is purely financial. An increase in the density of units available for rent and the addition of a strip mall will obviously be more lucrative than the current arrangement, even if occupancy is less than capacity. The tragic mistake I feel you are making is in ignoring the contribution that the neighborhood makes to the greater University environment. I admit that these are very intangible sentiments, but the Garneau area, with its tree lined streets and numerous "character" homes, contributes a sense of history to the entire University. Adding high rises and strip malls will rob the neighborhood of this character. I am a member of the Kappa Alpha Literary Society, and many of my most pleasant memories of my University experience were of sitting on our patio on Spring/Summer days playing guitar and visiting with friends and fellow students as they passed by our front door.
I have had opportunity to visit the University of Calgary's campus, and while I do not want to disparage that institution, I feel strongly that that should not be the model that Uof A follows. That UofC does not, and never will, be able to deliver the same experience to its students. The buildings are all cement and non-descript, indeed the entire campus feels like a big mall. It has a cold, impersonal feel, and it always will. I don't believe that you get the same sense of University life or spirit in that environment.
I fear that in an effort to solve current fiscal shortfalls we are sacrificing a critical element of the UofA experience which we will never be able to replace. I have only recently had this brought to my attention so I am afraid I am not aware of any of the background to this current plan. I would certainly volunteer time or make a fiscal contribution in the effort to reverse this shortsighted decision. Please contact me at your earliest convenience and let me know if there is anything which I could contribute.
I look forward to hearing from you,
John Peltier CA, CFA
Vice-President, Investment Banking