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Letter: LU greenspace should be entirely protected

Greater Sudbury’s regreening success should not be impaired by the need to repair Laurentian University’s finances
Laurentian University aerial

At the UN Biodiversity Convention, COP15, Dr. John Gunn and Laurentian University student leaders Avery Morin and Anastacia Chartrand presented Sudbury’s regreening story, a much-needed story of hope, where severe environmental damage is being reversed through collective effort. 

This success is rightfully known and celebrated around the world, inspiration to replicate ecological recovery in other damaged landscapes.

Unavoidably, there is a poignancy to this story. Many of the people celebrated are no longer at Laurentian. The programs with regreening expertise no longer exist at our university. Students can no longer study Environmental Science or forest ecology here where the celebrated ‘regreening recipe’ was created.

One of many avoidable deep losses to our university and our community from the decision to declare insolvency and take LU through the CCAA process.

Laurentian University has now exited from the CCAA. We must hope that the rebuilding of LU will include the restoration of these programs and others.

But first, no more harm must be done.

The LU greenspace is an important site in Sudbury’s regreening story. An origin site of much of the science of the ‘regreening recipe.’ A site of learning for students. A place of community effort and wellness for regreening, trails and activities. And the first site where regreening efforts will be deemed complete.

The loss of the LU greenspace and trails would be an irreparable blow that the relationship between LU and the community would never recover from. 

Laurentian University is renewing leadership and looking to a time of a new beginning, and that new beginning must be founded on regaining trust. LU Board of Governors Chair Jeff Bangs has recognized the challenge of broken relationships with the community, and has spoken about the need to rebuild trust and the importance of transparency and better communication with the wider community. 

The community is anxiously awaiting a clear statement that the LU greenspace will be protected in its entirety, in its natural state, as a freely accessible community greenspace. Now that would be good news for the start of the new year.

Naomi Grant