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New U of T Varsity Stadium on track


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Article in todays Star. Need to be a subscriber for online access which I'm not.

5 000 seats with artificial turf with track and a bubble for the winter. Cost $60-65 million incl. new athletic centre and renovated arena.

"Seems on track" and could be approved by June.

I love this city. The article states the 25 000 seat previous attempts were "way too big". Um, did they never see what was there before?

And who lives in the area? Seriously. Where are these people who live there?

An other funny part, is something about how a 5 000 seater "fits into the area". Um, once again, do they not notice all the buildings in the area?

And if this is what they wanted all along, why didn't they leave up what was before? From what I understand, the one side with about 8 000 seats was fine, it was the other side that had to be taken down.

The final irony is this was not in the sports section, it was in the GTA section, and written by a Star's "city hall bureau" reporter.

<Bang head against the wall time>

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I have been following this through U of T's student media. I think this plan is great for the university and is what they should have been looking at all along. The previous plans with MLSE and then the CSA/Argos were not appropriate for the university. They screwed up by going along with it before stopping to think what the university community wants and needs. But they are now back on track with this line of thinking.

BTW, the plan is in several phases. The first phase is the field, track, seating and bubble foundation and would be paid for by the university (something like $15 million). The rest would require funding from other sources (ie. students (who I think are much more likely to agree to fund this than a 25,000-seat stadium) and outside the university).

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Here's the article:

Apr. 21, 2005. 08:34 AM

Varsity Stadium plan gets an A



After several false starts, a proposal to redevelop the University of Toronto's Varsity Stadium site seems to be on track.

The plan, which includes a new 5,000-seat stadium, an eight-lane track, a new athlete support centre and a refurbished arena, received strong community support when it was presented last month, says the area's councillor. It will go to the university's governing council on May 10 and could be approved as early as June.

The previous stadium — first built in 1924 — was demolished in 2002 due to safety concerns, including seating that had to be shored up with jacks, nails protruding from seats and plumbing headaches.

"This is something that's desperately needed by the students and it's a welcome addition to the neighbourhood," said Councillor Olivia Chow (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina).

Several previous projects, including a 25,000-seat stadium for the Argonauts and the Soccer Association of Canada, were "way too big" and not compatible with the community, Chow said. "The local residents are fine with (the project) ... In fact, throughout all the consultation of the previous incarnations, residents have said up front if (the stadium) is 5,000 seats, they can support that," she said.

"There has been a great deal of dialogue. They (the university) have given us an opportunity for our input. By and large, I think we've got something we can work with now," said Neil Wright of the Harbord Street Business Improvement Area.

"(The proposal) is more in keeping, I think, with the aesthetics and context of the neighbourhood ... and although Toronto is morphing each day with all the new developments that are coming, I think this one's a pretty well-thought-out plan. It accommodates the university ... and it's sensitive to the neighbourhood around it."

Ron Venter, the vice-provost of space and facilities planning, said different plans have been on the drawing board to redevelop the stadium site since the late 1990s, including a big-box store, student housing combined with commercial space, and the Argonauts project. Venter said the university needed a new stadium with artificial turf for football, a track, a new athletic centre, a renovated arena and new seating.

The field will be covered with a "bubble" so it can accommodate year-round use, he added.

The project, if approved, will cost $60 to $65 million. The university has agreed to finance part, but fundraising will be needed for the rest, he said.

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