West side is the best side, as Ali G would say, and as they kick off their new forums and consultations on how to develop the west campus, the University of Calgary certainly seems to think so too.
The west campus land, given to the U of C by the province in 1995 and measuring 183 acres, remains for the most part undeveloped.
U of C President Dr. Harvey Weingarten said the university must develop the land in accordance with the university's principles.
"There are many things we could do with the west campus" said Weingarten. "We're holding this open house and having consultations to make sure that any decision we make is an informed decision."
The university began its project for the west campus with a two day open house and invited students, faculty and a few select outsiders to come in and listen to presentations, and to give their ideas and feedback as to what should be done with the land. Presenters included the Advisor to the President on Strategic Initiatives Tony Myers, and Dean of the faculty of environmental design Brian R. Sinclair.
"When you are given a gift you have a responsibility to take care of it and the people who gave it," said Myers. "In part this has already started. So far the west campus has had the Alberta Children's Hospital built on it, which has enabled us to have the land serviced, connected to the highways and has produced a fantastic building both for the community and also for the university in terms of the research facilities, and opportunity for work and study in the fields of medicine and social work."
The presenters discussed a 50-year plan for the development. The timeline factors around the existing land available for development on the main campus, which the university has calculated will provide for its needs over the next 50 years.
"We can therefore act with this in mind, and build the west campus to enhance the reputation of the university, perhaps creating a mixture of things like accommodation, retail space, research facilities, offices, and a whole host of others," said Myers.
The university expects to engage in talks over the next couple of months before drafting a document for planned development of the campus. Myers stressed this will be a living document and subject to future changes.