Siting of a New Residence
The Campus & Community Affairs Committee of the Board of Governors met on Monday, December 8, 1997, to hear representations from members of the Broughdale Community Association and the London North Community Association relative to the proposed siting of a new 400-bed residence on University property located on the north side of University Drive, just east of the University Bridge.
The purpose of the meeting was to provide a forum for concerned area residents to address the Committee about their objections to the proposed siting prior to the Board coming to a decision on this issue. The meeting was attended by some 45 area residents, Board members, students, and staff.
Last year, for the first time, the University offered incoming first year students a guaranteed place in residence. As a result of this and other recruitment efforts, the University was successful in attracting many more well qualified first year students than anticipated. The first year acceptance rate exceeded historical experience, and by September the residence system was oversubscribed by 530 students. Of these, 465 were housed at Huron College, Westminster College, and the Kings Inn downtown. Another 65 were accommodated on campus by converting some suites in Delaware Hall into triple and quadruple rooms.
The Board of Governors learned of this situation at a retreat on September 8 . The purpose of the retreat was to discuss a number of capital planning issues, including the possibility of building another new residence. It was agreed that this would be desirable. A number of possible locations were identified, but no site preferences were discussed, nor were there any decisions taken as to the desired size of the building. On September 22, the Property & Finance Committee agreed that a residence feasibility study should be undertaken and that consultants should be retained to carry out preliminary design work relating to siting, soil surveys, cost estimates, and the development of conceptual designs. A recommendation to this effect was approved by the Board on October 2.
On October 11, the London Free Press ("Western Planning 400-bed residence") reported the University's plans to construct a new residence and that "specific proposals about sites and designs will be narrowed at a board of governors meeting in November."
Soil testing on the University Drive site was observed by the resident at the west end of Tower Lane whose property abuts what has since been identified as the best site for a new residence, and discussions with this resident continued over several weeks.
On October 20, the Property & Finance Committee received the feasibility study which indicated that the University Drive site was preferred for a residence building to house approximately 400 students. The Committee was informed of ongoing discussions with the resident on Tower Lane whose property would be most affected by a building sited as suggested. On October 29, on the recommendation of the Property & Finance Committee, the Board accepted the feasibility study and authorized initiation of the design phase. Subsequently, a design team was engaged to begin the design phase, including a review of available sites.
The next day, on October 30, the London Free Press erroneously reported in an article entitled "UWO unveils site of new residence" that the Board had made a "decision" that the University's "new 400-bed residence will be built on the north side of University Drive just inside the gates at Richmond Street."
In the first week in November, the University was informed by the Broughdale Community Association that they were strongly opposed to construction of a university residence on the University Drive site. The Association, led by its President, Mrs. Susan Bentley, following several approaches by members of the University's administration, agreed to a meeting with representatives from the University following their organization's annual general meeting. The meeting of the two groups occurred on Saturday, November 15. The University was represented by Dr. Robert Colcleugh, Chair of the Property & Finance Committee; Dr. Paul Davenport, President; Dr. Peter Mercer, Vice-President (Administration); Dr. Roma Harris, Vice-Provost & Registrar; Ms. Susan Grindrod, Senior Director, Student Housing & Food Services; and Mr. Dave Riddell, Senior Director of Physical Plant and Capital Planning Services. Also present at the meeting were residents from the London North Community Association and others who have subsequently made known their opposition to building a residence on the University Drive site.
Following the meeting with the Broughdale Community group, the University representatives reconvened to review their position in light of concerns raised by the Broughdale residents. They remained convinced that the University Drive site is the best choice for the new residence.
The Property & Finance Committee met on Monday, November 17, where members were informed that the design team confirmed that the best location for a new residence is the University Drive site. The Committee was apprised of the meeting between University representatives and the Broughdale Community Association et al, and of the concerns the residents had raised. At that meeting, the following recommendation was approved by Property & Finance and promoted to the Board on November 27:
That the Board of Governors approve:
a) the use of the north side of University Drive as the site for the construction of a 380 to 450 bed new residence;
b) that the detailed design of the residence proceed, subject to approval in January 1998 of the exterior design and that the maximum project budget be less than $20 million.
The motion was duly moved and seconded at the Board meeting. Cognizant of the area residents' strong objection to the site selection, the Board determined that further consideration of the recommendation (including voting) would be deferred to a Special Meeting of the Board of Governors to be held following the regular public meeting of the Campus & Community Affairs Committee scheduled for Monday, December 8. The Broughdale Community Association had asked to be permitted to make a presentation at that meeting.
December 8 Meeting of the Campus & Community Affairs
Representatives of the administration and architects opened the December 8 meeting with a brief overview of the proposal to construct a residence on the north side of University Drive. They spoke to the following points:
The formal presentation to the Campus & Community Affairs Committee was made by:
Mrs. Susan Bentley, President, Broughdale Community
Mr. Dan Bartlett, Director, London North Community Association
Ms. Jennifer Smout
Mr. Rick Knutson, Land Use Planner
In addition, a number of residents from Tower Lane and area made statements about how they believe a residence on the University Drive site will adversely affect their neighborhood. Speakers included: Juanita Casselman, Bernice Dellow, Margaret Hastings, Lou Benvenuto, K. Galil, Maggie Whalley, and Paul Heseltine. Their comments reiterated and supplemented statements contained in numerous letters received by the Board of Governors in recent weeks (see listing attached).
Although all spoke of the desirability of providing more residence space on campus, they were united in objecting to the University Drive site for a number of reasons. Their principle objections are listed below:
Immediately following the December 8 public meeting of the Campus & Community Affairs Committee , the committee convened in closed session to review the concerns raised by the presenters. In keeping with Board by-laws, also in attendance were other Board members who were present during the open meeting. (Several Board members who were not able to attend the December 8 meeting participated in a conference call meeting on December 9 at which time the Chair of CCAC reviewed the proceedings of the previous evening.)
Since the recommendation of the Property & Finance Committee with respect to the siting of the residence is already under active consideration by the Board, the CCAC makes no collective recommendation. Rather, the information obtained from the materials and presentations at the meeting serve to inform individual Board members when they vote on the recommendation before them at the Special Board Meeting on December 10.
Attached: List of correspondence to the Board concerning siting of a new residence on the north side of University Drive (Annex 1)
Board of Governors - Appendix II
December 10, 1997 - Annex 1
Letters Received re Siting of Residence on University Drive
6 November 1997 P. Dellow, 25 Tower Lane
10 November 1997 Broughdale Community Association (S. Bentley, President)
23 November 1997 Broughdale Community Association Application to Make a Presentation to CCAC
10 November 1997 J. Casselman, 29 Tower Lane
1 December 1997 J. Casselman, 29 Tower Lane
19 November 1997 London North Community Association (D. Bartlett, Director)
25 November 1997 A. Hurst, 1125 The Parkway
25 November 1997 J. Smout, 197 Sherwood Avenue (registered owner: 12 Tower Lane)
26 November 1997 M. Hastings, 16 Tower Lane
29 November 1997 S. Cherniak for the Epworth Place Homeowners Association
2 December 1997 Several residents of Tower Lane (Hastings, Dellow, Decker(?), Grace, Casselman, Benvenuto, Galil)
2 December 1997 M. Whalley, 15 Mayfair Drive
3 December 1997 A. Hurd, 1140 Richmond Street
3 December 1997 R.G. Moore, 235 Epworth Avenue
3 December 1997 B. Pitt
4 December 1997 D. Sample and K. Sample, 1041 Patricia Street
4 December 1997 P. Chevreau, 5 Parkdale Crescent
4? December 1997 M. Dollar and R. Dollar, 41 Mayfair Drive
4 December 1997 ** B. and S. Kime, 234 Unviersity Crescent
5 December 1997 ** S. And D. Crocker, 43 Mayfair Drive
5 December 1997 ** J.G. Norris, 1085 The Parkway
5 December 1997 ** A.H. Pevler, 18 Tower Lane
7 December 1997 ** R. And N. Kozek, 1129 The Parkway
8 December 1997 ** K. Hill, Executive Director, Westminster College, to L.R. Benvenuto
8 December 1997 ** Petition signed by 78 individuals: "I/We object to the University of Western Ontario constructing a residence on the north side of University Drive."
(Undated) ** Phyllis Price, 179 Broughdale Avenue
9 December 1997 ** Susan Bentley, President, Broughdale Community Association
** = letters received during or after the CCAC meeting on December 8, 1997