Why does any progress Downtown always seem to cost us so much?
So many agree that we have a problem downtown with vacant buildings and gaps where buildings once stood, and so many agree that something needs to be done to prevent further needless demolition.
Why then, is our beautiful Board of Education building, a building currently in use, under threat of demolition at the hands of McMaster University?
Board of Education building under threat
I would love to see Mac increase their presence in the Downtown core. I would even support seeing City funds given or lent to the project.
Why, however, do we need to build it at 100 Main West? With the Board of Education long out of the picture in terms of direct participation, why are we still considering using this particular parcel of land?
Surely we aren't lacking viable space Downtown. Surely, between the City and the University there has to be a more creative, mutually beneficial option.
Can we not adapt the existing structure? Can we not consider using the adjoining parking lot? Can we not negotiate something with Vrancor, owners of the vast sea of parking lots to the West of this property? There are so many options that we aren't even considering. That is inexcusable.
The crux of the problem is that once the Board of Ed. declared the property surplus, McMaster only had a 90 day window to arrange the partnership and funding and in turn, they have only given Council two weeks.
This quickly became another Pan Am-style shotgun to our proverbial heads, as we're now left scrambling to evaluate a complex partnership and funding model in a matter of days.
Once we start to consider that this project does not need to happen at 100 Main West, we will suddenly find ourselves with a much more reasonable amount of time in which to work.
While this leaves the Board of Education in an awkward situation, it may end up saving us all a lot of headaches, money, and a perfectly viable, beautiful building. Perhaps the Board will just have to stay downtown after all.
This was first published on Dan's personal website.
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