Rez not attracting Welcome Wagon
By Brendan Howe
It depends on what side of University Drive Londonners live when it comes to what they think about the plans for Western's newest residence but the latest controversy could end in legal action.
The new residence is scheduled to open in 1999 across from Medway and Sydenham residences on University Drive.
Residents living on Tower Lane have been protesting the plan since the site was announced and Peter Mercer, VP-administration at Western, thinks the only thing that will satisfy the community is if the university does not build it there. That option is not possible, he said.
"We have very painstakingly explained to them why this is the only viable site," Mercer said. "We're not simply looking at any old place to put up this residence, we're looking for somewhere that will attract students."
Residents are concerned about shadow effects, property values and noise levels associated with having the proposed five storey building near their homes.
University administration and Tower Lane residents plan to meet again on Jan. 20, a day later than when the building site plans go to the City of London for approval.
Jay Casselman, a resident of Tower Lane, said the Jan. 20 meeting was supposed to be on the ninth, then it was postponed by the university to the 13th and once again to the 20th. He said he thought this was because they did not have the plans ready to show the residents on those dates.
Casselman said the residents are currently examining options available to them. He is prepared for a compromise all residents could live with, but said some just want it moved.
"We're not as confident as [Mercer] is that the university has everything sorted out so we're still looking at legal action," he said.
Mercer said the administration believes they are acting in full compliance with all building regulations and does not believe there is any basis for legal action.
Alumni House Residents' Council President Adam Schieman said the building of the new residence will benefit the existing ones on University Drive. Although it will be taking up some existing recreational space across the street, he said there will still be an area about the size of a football field left untouched.
Matthew Bryce, president of the Medway/Sydenham Residents' Council agreed, saying there are not any real student concerns other than the one-year construction period.
At least seven houses will be affected said Susan Bentley, president of the Broughdale Community Association. "This is the only site that affects the community."
LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE? The expected view from a window in Western's newest University Drive residence scheduled to open in 1999.