By Brendan Howe
The proposed new residence on University Drive is in a state of flux after Western's Board of Governors voted yesterday afternoon to go to the community for input before a final decision is made.
After complaints from community associations over the location of the new residence, the Board decided to wait until after a Campus and Community Affairs Committee meeting scheduled for Dec. 8. At the meeting, Board members will hear presentations by community members on the problems associated with building a residence across the street from Medway/Sydenham.
Peter Mercer, Western's VP-administration, said some area residents have expressed concern about property values being hurt by the new residence and their overall enjoyment of their property being threatened.
"You always have to be mindful of what effects [a proposed building] is having on the community," he said.
Susan Bentley, Broughdale Community Association president, said delaying the vote on the new residence is exactly what they hoped for. She said one of the association's main concerns, which it expressed in a letter to the Board of Governors, was they were not consulted when the site was chosen.
The letter outlined five other problems with the potential site including negative impacts such as noise, lack of privacy and trespassing. The letter also noted the residence would cause the loss of recreational space and create wind problems along the street.
"[The administration] seems to think the only problems in our community come from students living in absentee landlord places. This is simply not the case," Bentley said. She added several problems exist as a result of students living in residences.
Mercer said students living in residences can cause problems for their neighbours. "Student lifestyles aren't always compatible with the lifestyles of residents."
He added things can be done to accommodate people living close to residences, citing the situation of Philip Aziz who lives right next door to Essex Hall. He explained fencing and other measures were taken to satisfy his needs.
Bonnie Hawlik, a director at the London North Community Association, also wrote a letter to the Board of Directors outlining similar concerns. She said the associations do not have a problem with the actual building of the residence but with the location.
The final decision on the residence will be made in a special Board meeting Dec. 10.