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Phase II Water Street Residences Update - July 2014

Go to Trent Lands Plan website

Download the Water Street Residence Draft Site Plan (pdf)


With the fourth building in Phase I of the Water Street Residences complete, Phase II – the fifth building in the Water Street Residence plan – is now underway. London Property Corp. (Residence Development Corporation) recently named the block of student residences Campus Heights.


Location of Phase II Residences

As part of the official Endowment Lands Plan, the location for Phase II of the Water Street residences will be at 1633 Water Street, south of the lights at Nassau Mills Road on the west side of Water Street. Please see Site A, circled on the attached map, just south of the wetland. (The four buildings associated with Phase I can also be seen on the map, just north Nassau Mills Road and Water Street.)


Changes to the Plan for Environmental Protection

Those familiar with previous plans will note there is no longer a building indicated at Site B on the map. Through an environmental assessment, it was noted that Site B was the site of sensitive wetlands. Through consultations with ORCA, the University worked with the developer to limit the Phase II development to Site A, in order to protect the diversity of species dependent upon the wetland habitat. Previously a six acre development, the London Property Corp. Phase II development is now two acres.

Details of the Phase II Building Design and Structure

The Phase II development at Site A will be designed in the attractive “Georgian” style architecture of buildings one and three in Phase I.

The Phase II building will comprise 36, three-bedroom apartments, with two bathrooms each, able to accommodate up to 180 students.

As with Phase I, the Phase II building will be built in accordance with municipal agreements, under proper supervision of RDC’s architects and landscape architects, and subject to regulation, supervision, control and inspection of the University.

Student Occupants

Due to demand from first-year students and their parents for residences close to campus, Phase II will comprise a mix of first-year and upper-year students. The combination of first-year and upper-year students with programming by residence life staff, and Dons living on-site, will provide the oversight and mentoring for a positive residential experience. First-year students in the Phase II Water Street Residence will be affiliated with Champlain College, as part of the Champlain College Annex and will participate in college programming and utilize college services at Champlain College.



History of the Water Street Residences

Update No. 4 on the Water Street Residence Project from the President and Vice-Chancellor

3 August 2011


On Tuesday, August 2, 2011 the Council for the City of Peterborough approved the site plan for the development of a new student residence on Water Street.  The project was previously endorsed by the Planning Committee of Council on Monday, July 18, 2011.

With this municipal approval, Trent University has concluded an important step in its on-going mission to serve students and the community. The vision for the Water Street Residence Project is of a vital, high quality, townhouse- and apartment-style student residence important in attracting students, and a format that many of Trent’s competitors already offer. As articulated in Trent’s First Integrated Plan, entitled “Toward a Sustainable Future” (2010-2015), recently approved by both Senate and the Board of Governors, the University has a renewed Commitment to Strengthening Community Engagement, to improving its place and profile in the market, and to attracting more students to Peterborough. Such growth requires suitable housing options which are responsive to students’ needs, to their desire for modern student accommodation in close proximity to campus, and to new services and programming options provided by the University.

An effective consultative process to plan and build the Water Street Residence Project has been underway since 2007, and previously, the Board-approved Endowment Lands Master Plan had identified the site for this purpose. The Trent University Master Plan Update Symons Campus in 2001, a development of the original vision for Trent, included the concept of nearby student communities built to support the campus. The Residence Development Corporation (RDC) was identified in 2008 as the successful partner in the subsequent RFP process, and they have worked carefully and diligently with Trent to bring the Water Street Residence project vision to fruition.

In 2010, the Presidential Advisory Task Force on the Water Street Residence was created with student, faculty, staff and Board representation. Their mandate was to provide advice regarding the planning context and to make recommendations on possible site plans, with an understanding of the comments and perspectives raised by the members of the Trent and the Peterborough communities. The Task Force did an excellent job. For example, valuable feedback about environmental considerations reaffirmed the need for the site plan to adhere to high environmental standards consistent with Trent’s planning processes and values. Retail space is not included in this phase of the development in recognition of the need to continue the strong tradition of Trent students supporting the downtown. The potential to introduce certain aspects of residence- and College-based programming to the Water Street Residence Project, similar to the successful programming options provided at the McDonnel Street-Champlain Annex, was identified. Any decision to provide such programming will, of course, be informed by the preferences and support of students residing in the Water Street Residence and student leadership on campus.

I firmly believe in the value and the benefits this high quality, townhouse- and apartment-style student residence on Trent-owned lands will bring to Trent and the City of Peterborough. The Water Street Residence Project will, in my view and that of many others, help Trent strengthen its capacity to attract and retain students, grow the university and its connection to the community, and provide students with the accommodation choices they are seeking.



Update No. 3 on the Water Street Residence Project from the President and Vice-Chancellor

8 December 2010

I am writing to update the Trent and Peterborough communities on progress to complete the Water Street Residence Project.

In April 2008, Trent University and Residence Development Corporation (RDC) entered into a long-term lease agreement to develop a residence project comprised of townhouses and apartments for students on land zoned for university use on Water Street adjacent to the entrance to Trent University Symons Campus in Peterborough. The intention of the Water Street Residence Project is to provide Trent University students with a greater diversity of high quality housing options close to the Symons Campus. The location on Water Street had been identified for such purposes very early in the planning for Trent University, and this had been confirmed in the Campus Master Plan (2001) and the Plan for Trent’s Endowment Lands (2006).

In February 2010, a Presidential Advisory Task Force on the Water Street Residence Project, comprised of faculty, staff and student representatives, and an independent (external) land-use planning consultant, was created to provide advice regarding the planning context and to make recommendations on possible site plans with an understanding of the comments and perspectives raised by members of the Trent and Peterborough communities. In October 2010, the Presidential Advisory Task Force on the Water Street Residence Project unanimously recommended a site plan, which was subsequently approved by the President and by Trent’s Board of Governors in December. 

The site plan submission for the Water Street Residence Project involves two phases of development. The process to obtain municipal approval of the site plan for the first phase has now been initiated. The second phase may be considered within five years. The first phase provides 310 beds in two townhouse blocks (78 units) and two apartment buildings (232 units). Each three-story townhouse and apartment building is an energy-efficient design, and each unit has a multiple-bath/bedroom and shared kitchen/common area layout. There is no retail space allocated in the first phase.

Environmental issues on the site have been addressed by preserving a small wetland and by the provision of a significant proportion of the site as green space. The natural grade of the site has been respected with appropriate consideration of sight lines and the accommodation of part of the upper slope of the site through purposeful location of the access road, building and parking spaces. Issues of pedestrian and traffic safety will be addressed with the design of the intersection, sidewalks, and a pedestrian crosswalk, and effective signalling for the traffic lights on Water Street. Site servicing design, in particular storm water management, will ensure applicable standards are achieved and environmental impacts on the site and adjacent areas are minimized.

A review of similar residence projects built by RDC at University of Western Ontario, University of Guelph, Loyalist College, Durham College/University of Ontario Institute of Technology, St. Clair College, and Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia, has confirmed the overall desirability of this type of housing for many university students expecting high quality, apartment style facilities near post-secondary education institution infrastructure.

The Water Street Residence Project is an important initiative to help Trent University realize growth targets in the Multi-year Enrolment and Retention Plan (April 2010). Successful College residence programming, and the implementation of Trent’s communities of learning through the College Annex concept, will be considered for the Water Street Residence Project similar to the Champlain College Annex on McDonnel Street launched this past year in downtown Peterborough.

The Residence Development Corporation, under the terms of the lease arrangement, is now seeking to obtain municipal planning approval for the development with the agreement of Trent University. The Water Street Residence Project is expected to be ready for student occupancy in September 2012.

An Open House on Trent’s Water Street Residence Project is planned for January 26, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. at Trent University. All are welcome to attend the session to view the site plan and timelines associated with completing this important development.


Water Street Residence - Update to the Community


Update #2 - Water Street Residence Project

Beginning in August, 2009 a series of meetings has been held at Trent University with individuals and groups to gain a greater awareness of the process and issues related to the proposed Water Street Residence Project.

Together with our partner (the Residence Development Corporation, RDC), I have met with a cross-section of the Trent University and Peterborough communities including students, faculty, staff, Otonabee Region Conservation Authority (ORCA), the University Heights Neighbourhood Association, the No Private Residence at Trent Coalition, the Downtown Business Improvement Association, City of Peterborough, the Trent University Environmental Advisory Board (EAB) and the Facilities and Grounds Committee, among others. I have also, as part of the process, reviewed the financial terms of the existing lease and visited similar developments at the University of Western Ontario (London), University of Guelph, and University of Ontario Institute of Technology (Oshawa).

I would like to thank all those who have participated in this consultative process for their thoughtful and insightful contributions. The many perspectives and opinions have contributed to a deeper understanding of the diversity of views about the project, and have helped provide context for the earlier and current planning environments.

To guide decision-making about the future of the Water Street Residence Project, an Advisory Task Force on the Water Street Residence will now be formed. Terms of reference for the Advisory Task Force, to be chaired by Trent University’s Vice-President External Relations and Advancement, Dianne Lister, may include advice on the planning context and recommendations on possible site plans and will consider the comments and perspectives raised through the consultative process. The Task Force will provide a report to the President/Vice-President Executive Committee (PVP) and to the Endowment Lands Committee of the Board of Governors.

Advisory Task Force on the Water Street Residence Proposed Membership:

Dianne Lister, VP External Relations and Advancement,Executive Sponsor and Task Force Chair
Don O’Leary, VP Administration, Alternate Task Force Chair
2 Members, Facilities and Grounds Committee
Member, Space Utilization Committee
Member, Endowment Lands Committee
Member, Environmental Advisory Board
Member, Physical Resources Department
External Consultant: Land-use Planning

Dr. Steven E. Franklin
President and Vice-Chancellor

For more information, please visit the Water Street Residence web site.

Update #1- A Letter from Steven E. Franklin

Since beginning my term at Trent University in July, I have had the opportunity to meet with many individuals and groups to gain an awareness of the process and issues related to the new upper-year student residence on Water Street. The University is listening to all perspectives with regard to this development, in an effort to create a process of engagement to more fully understand concerns.

Trent University and our partners are committed to engagement with all those with an interest in this project in the coming weeks. Once there is a greater understanding of the issues, any possible modifications to the original site plan will be shared as part of the normal process.

Thank you.


Dr. Steven E. Franklin
President and Vice-Chancellor



This project will benefit Trent students and the community by:

  • Providing choices for students to access high quality, competitively priced apartment and townhouse accommodations close to the main campus.
  • Providing Trent students with closer access to new facilities and services on campus.
  • Freeing up Trent’s resources to focus on other academic buildings and services.
  • Creating a new long-term revenue stream for the University.
  • Creating new infrastructure in the community through the generation of $12 million in construction activity and new jobs, and the freeing up of rental accommodations in the City.


What is the Water Street residence project about?

Trent University and the Residence Development Corporation (RDC) have entered into a multi-million dollar partnership to develop a townhouse and apartment residence on Water Street for upper-year students.

An application has been submitted to the City of Peterborough for site plan approval of the project that is proposed on land zoned for “University” use.

This exciting new project is part of a broader plan to enhance the student experience by developing new services and facilities at the Symons campus, as envisioned in the original master plan developed by Canadian architect Ron Thom.

This project continues a 45 year tradition of students living throughout the Peterborough community in a variety of neighbourhood and residential settings.


Click here for a project overview and to learn how Trent University is connected to the broader community.