New concerns for Tower Lane
By Mark Brown
Residents whose properties back onto the site of the new residence on University Drive have further concerns about the treatment they have received from Western.
Residents of Tower Lane, such as Jay Cassleman, are concerned about the university's plans for the former Bank of Montreal building donated to the university last year for use as an alumni welcoming centre.
Western is awaiting a decision from the City of London to have the land re-zoned to a regional facility zoning, the same as the rest of the university, said Peter Mercer, Western's VP-administration.
Last year, residents of Tower Lane were concerned about the close proximity of the new residence and the way the administration did not consult local residents about the new building until the late stages of planning, explained Joe Swan, councillor for Ward Two.
"Our concern is that the university wants the same control of the land at the end of the street as they have over the rest of the university property," Cassleman said.
Cassleman accused the university of not keeping them informed, referring to the last meeting between the community and the university two months ago where they met to discuss the school's plans for the building but failed to mention re-zoning the land.
"They are not paying any more attention to us nor are they changing the way they deal with us," he said.
Still, the administration believes residents of Tower Lane have no cause for concern.
The reason the university wanted to change the zoning to a regional facility zone was because it was zoned as commercial-retail which is not the building's intended purpose, Mercer explained. "We fully expect it to be approved," he added.
Dave Riddell, senior director of physical plant and capital planning services, added the zoning of the land is very strict. An eight-metre height restriction is placed on the building and it cannot occupy more than 30 per cent of the land, Riddell said. The current structure occupies 15 per cent, he added.
Swan said he has been pleased with the way the university has since dealt with local residence. "The university realized it dropped the ball and has made changes to remedy the situation."