In the area of Queen Street and Central Park Drive, down along Team Canada Drive and Central Park Drive and east across Queen Street, there is a great deal of land not being put to it’s “Highest and Best Use” which is a land use planning term.
Yes, there are condos towers there. There are also abandoned police stations, empty lots, some stores and gas stations, and a rotting theatre (some estimate it needs millions in repairs and updates to bring its electrical safety and building code compliance requirements up to date. I mean no disrespect to the companies currently using that land (more power to them in the game of private enterprise), but from a City Building point of view, that land could be put to much higher and better use.
In particular, as City Staff works with the province to put together a winning University proposal, that land could be reallocated, purchased and dedicated to a University Campus and Research Park area. There are, as pictured, lots large enough to build 12 buildings in the area. The old Police station is large enough, depending on how tall you build, to house an entire university department, say math or computer science. If we reclaim the baseball diamond (and of course replace it with one at Chinguacousy Park across the road, I’m not heartless), there is another building. The old Regency Racquet Club? It could be rebuilt into three very large buildings its footprint is so large. The old City Hall and now home of Lester B Pearson Theatre? Plenty of room for a large lecture hall, university library and admin offices, and that is without any demolition. The parking lot? Working with BCC, a parking structure with more building space on top of it. Husky, Midas and the Car Wash? That’s a lot of land for three businesses, and the land could be divided into smaller lots so they wouldn’t even have to move their businesses if they wished to stay. Engineers and architects can do amazing things.
Are there other areas of the city with more land? Sure. But not with as much potential existing student housing stock, adjacent to bars, shopping and open park space. None less than 2.5 km from the 410. None as close to a Transit Hub, certainly, the much discussed McLaughlin site is 1.5 km from the GO station and Brampton Hub, this site is literally right next door to the Bramalea transit hub. So while other sites have more land to dedicate, the other sites don’t have as much to offer to actual students who will ultimately attend the school.
With the exception of “Four Corners” I do not suggest the other sites are not good sites. They are. But this site is a good site too. And I hope that city staff are aware of its potential and aren’t being myopic in trying to fit a round peg into the square that is the 4 Square Blocks of 4 Corners.