By DEBBIE LEVY
The public got its first opportunity this week to see Centennial College’s plans for the redevelopment of the East York campus.
An open house in the Carlaw building of the school attracted over 100 people as college management, developers, architects, and consultants discussed the project and answered questions.
The college plans to sell half of its six-acre property at Pape and Mortimer Avenues to a private developer, who wants to build two 12-storey condominiums on the Pape Avenue frontage.
The $10.2 million sale price will be used to renovate the existing campus and establish a “world class communication arts centre,” according to Centennial’s president I. B. McCauley.
The college hopes to re-open the East York campus in the fall of 1991. It will house the five existing full-time communication arts programs – journalism, broadcasting, creative advertising, book and magazine publishing and corporate communications.
Ron Dodge, chairman of Centennial’s communication arts department, says the college would also like to offer one-year intensive post-diploma courses in commercial photography and computer graphics.
Public reaction to the proposal was mixed. While there was no criticism of the plans for the campus, some area residents were concerned about the impact the highrise buildings would have on their neighborhood.
“Improvement is good but this is really intrusive ” said Rebecca Sora of Carlaw Avenue. “I moved to this area because I like living in a residential area. A monstrosity like this will ruin the neighborhood.”
Barbara Alexander of Eden Street opposes the development and said the land should be used for a park or library. But many of those present Wednesday night approved of the whole proposal.
Former Toronto mayor Fred Beavis was impressed with the plans and doesn’t think the development will create problems for the neighbourhood.
“I get more shade from my neighbour’s yard than I’ll get from this (development),” he said. The 45-year resident of Logan Avenue said he will suggest Centennial to his grandson who is interested in a career in communications.
East York council got a look at the development plans on Tuesday when formal application was made to the planning committee for the necessary zoning changes. Mayor Dave Johnson said that although issues such as traffic and parking will have to be looked at, he thinks the project will enhance the business area of Pape Avenue and provide much needed housing.
“I don’t think I’m going out too far out of the limb to say that the Centennial communication arts centre is good for the college and good for the borough,” Johnson said.