Monday, May 12, 2008

WWU Where Are You? Not At The Planning Academy.

Over the last week I have been reviewing the “results” of the first session of the Planning Academy II. (Click here to review the on-line materials.) Unfortunately, the second session had already taken place by the time the video and some materials from the first session were made available to the general public. In scanning the list of participants, I searched in vain for representatives (called stakeholders by the Academy) from Western’s management. I did find two “planning students” from WWU were on the list. Since there was no attendance roster from the meeting, I cannot assume that they were, in fact, there. In any event, are we to believe that they represent the university administration? If not, where is the university management? Where are the representatives of the largest employer in the city? Where are the responsible parties of a public institution which brings over 12,000 people to the city each year, 8,000 of whom seek housing? Does this picture not seem bizarre?

Call a meeting on waterfront development and you will hear the stampede of university management as they carom down the stairs of Old Main to ensure a seat at that table. My advice to Mayor Pike is to go to the university and find a few high level managers (if they have not already decided to flee the sinking ship), grab them by the ears and drag them to the next Academy meeting so that we can hear their ideas on infill problems created by the student body. It is also time that the Mayor tells WWU (and the incoming president) that, in order to participate in the waterfront development, it will have to participate enthusiastically and wholly in community development.

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