U of T's St. Michael's College is giving up some of its primo green space on Bay to bring in more green for its ballooning deficit.
Signs posted along Bay from St. Mary south to the parkette at the northwest corner of St. Joseph, where residents of nearby buildings relax and walk their dogs, are announcing plans for 25-, 37- and 45-storey condos. Three additional six-storey residential buildings planned for the site will enclose the college and St. Basil's Church.
At a meeting Monday night, February 26, to formally unveil the plans, some 250 residents gave the developer, Concord-based Rattling Chain Investments Inc. , and area city planner Corwin Cambray an earful
over the loss of green space, which currently runs the length of the block.
A spokesperson for St. Michael's says it has no choice. Right now, the college is $8 million in the hole, and the sale of the land, "the only major asset that the college has to raise a significant amount of money, [is] a matter of necessity for the financial survival of the place."
It's not the first chunk of green St. Mike's has sold off. In 2003, half of its Orientation Field was sold for Green P parking, despite loud protests from the St. Michael's College Student Union stressing the field's importance to the community and "the creation of school spirit and pride."
Despite the university's on-campus sustainability efforts, preserving green space seems low on its list of priorities. Says sustainability officer Chris Caners , "We have an energy resource focus, not [one on] green space."
Rattling Chain Investments Inc. manager Pat Bern says the developer will continue to work with the community to alleviate fears, but planner Cambray warned residents at the meeting that tall buildings are coming to the site no matter what."
Local councillor Kyle Rae doesn't have a problem with the height of the proposed buildings as long as the parkette stays.