Volume 92, Issue 78

Tuesday, February 16, 1999


Election results not final yet

High rising plans modified

Safety changes put in motion

Mt. Allison back at work after more than three weeks off

Neighbours to consult on mastering plan

Singing for the scroll

Heating things up with ice


Caught on campus

High rising plans modified

By Brendan Howe
Gazette Staff

Plans to have a 15-storey building overlooking Western President Paul Davenport's backyard may be off.

Sifton Properties Limited, a London developer, submitted plans to the City of London last year to develop a large parcel of land near the intersection of Richmond Street and Fanshawe Park Road with the goal of building a retirement community, part of which would border the university-owned Gibbons Lodge property where Davenport lives.

The original proposal was met with opposition from both the community and Western administration.

However, Jim Hebb, land manager at Sifton, said a revised plan has been put together and was given to the university for feedback last week.

"We're looking at reducing the densities," he said, but would not comment further on the revised plans.

Sifton originally acquired the land from the university after entering into a joint venture agreement. The land is bordered on the southwest by North Centre Road, on the west by Richmond Street, on the south by Fanshawe Park Road and stretches north on the east side of Gibbons Lodge.

If Sifton receives zoning approval for the land, Western will receive a total of over $5.3 million from the developer.

The university previously owned all of the property now home to a new Loblaws Supermarkets Limited store, the Richmond North Centre and other housing and commercial developments. Western could receive as much as $10 million by April 2001 from selling parcels of the property and from interest on mortgages which have been granted.

Peter Mercer, Western's VP-administration, said he would not comment on the details of the new plan because of a request by Sifton. He said, however, he believes the changes are moving in the right direction.

"I was surprised at the original proposal because it was out of line with the original discussions we had," he said, adding the new plans are more in line with initial talks.

Mercer added members of administration met with Hebb last week and have yet to sit down to discuss the latest plans.

Hebb said he is expecting input from the university some time this week.

Joni Baechler, president of the Stonybrook Heights/Uplands Residents Association, said she has thus far been kept in the dark on the latest proposal. She noted there are other issues with the original plans than just density problems.

Development has the potential to destroy the surrounding wetlands including those on the Gibbons property, she said. "It's unquestionable to us that it will affect the wetlands."

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Copyright The Gazette 1999