New building blocks
By Sara Marett
At a heated meeting last night to discuss Western's newest residence to be built on University Drive by 1999, members of the neighbouring community expressed their disapproval with the design plans and repercussions of the new building.
Western's administration held the meeting which was attended by members of the Board of Governors, the architects who have designed plans for the site, students, staff and approximately 40 members of the community.
Dave Riddell, senior director of Western's physical plant, presented three different residence models that will house about 400 students. The models varied from four to six-floor buildings, including one preferred by the administration which boasts two five-floor wings and a two-storey middle.
Peter Mercer, Western's VP-administration admitted the designing and planning of the building has been accelerated due to the demand to accommodate an expected increase in student enrollment over the next few years.
Residents in the area feel the plans for the building are being quickly determined without their input and are concerned their property value will decrease significantly with an additional student residence.
"The last information we had received was that it would be a four-storey building and now they are telling us it will be five. We want them to seriously reconsider this plan as it is disproportionate to the neighbouring houses," said Jay Casselman, a resident of Tower Lane, located behind the new residence site.
Other nearby residents had serious concerns about noise levels, traffic flow, pedestrian safety and the shadow effect the building will cause on their homes.
Mercer said all concerns brought forth at the meeting would be considered by both the administration and the architects. Another meeting with the community will be held next week before presenting a building model for approval by the Board of Governors by the end of the month.