CITY VIEW – University of Guelph failed the student housing test

Posted April 28, 2013

So the university is unhappy about the size of the Abode Varsity Living student housing project approved for Gordon Street and Stone Road and the safety of students walking across the road to attend school.

The college of knowledge accepts some 22,000 students a year but only provides 5,300 on-campus units of accommodation. University spokesman Chuck Cunningham grumped the school was disappointed in the final plans to be built at their “front door”. Which front door is that? The intersection of Gordon and College?

What was the real reason the university objected to the Abode project, during the four weeks of Ontario Municipal Board hearings? Why did the city side with the university, or was it the other way around?

As it turned out, both parties lost their case before the board.

Instead of pondering the “shadow” effect of the new student residence that will house up to 1,100 students, perhaps the university should explain why some 13,000- plus students are thrust into the community to find a home for the school year.

Mr. Cunningham said that on-campus students have campus security, residential assistance, on-site programming, entertainment and supervision. Okay, but what about the other off-campus students? Do they share the benefits of their on-campus colleagues?

Perhaps he should speak with the residents who have seen their neighbourhoods inundated with multi-student occupation of single family homes. The partying, uncivil behaviour and trash generated by these student homes is ignored by the university management. They say the Guelph housing market is “healthy”.

To further insult tour intelligence, the university abandoned a private partner on-campus student housing project, while spending money to stop a student housing project across the street.

The cost of the city’s legal and other expenses lies in the usual mystery category.

It’s time for the University to stop pussy-footing and work with the city to develop proper off-campus housing for the growing number of students. This involves an affordable, comprehensive plan to students living on and off campus.


Filed under Between the Lines

7 responses to “CITY VIEW – University of Guelph failed the student housing test

  1. paul

    Very well put!!!!

  2. Glen N. Tolhurst

    Could it be that the U was afraid of the competition from modern accommodations and called in their links to council to back a last ditch effort?

    • Glen N. Tolhurst: It’s interesting that there are three members of council who are employed by the University. The Mayor was a former employee. It gives the university some leverage in persuading council (the majority of Farbridge fellow travelers), to support the university’s bent tactics in failing to provide legal and ample housing for its 22,000 students. Let’s hope that the three councillors with employment ties to the university, recused themselves when council voted to kill the Abode Varsity Living project at Gordon and Stone Road. More to come on that issue.

  3. I think the University just doesn’t want the headaches of all those students living on campus. They like it better, when the students torment the honest home owners. It is not like the University doesn’t have enough land to accommodate mostly all of the students, if they would just build the housing. It would more than pay for itself over time. Instead we have to tolerate the drunkeness, the yelling, the peeing on our properties, leaving their full drinks in our driveways, and actually driving right up on other peoples lawns with their trucks etc. And the city doesn’t even know about all the housing on the streets that are illegal and they don’t care. Well 5 students per house, with 1/2 of the houses on the street being rentals, the City should bloody well care. Otherwise, they should lower our taxes. It is certainly lowering the price of our houses. No families will come to our neighbourhoods.

    • Heather: You have touched on the hidden cost of having University students share your neighborhood. The loss of property values due to this abuse of the students in single family-zoned neighborhoods is a cost the city totally ignores. It allows these multi-student houses to be converted into dormitories that were never permitted under the zoning laws established when the homes were built. For some reason the city by-law enforcement officers fail to curb this misuse of homes in zoned single family areas.

  4. P.S. Thank you Gerry for understanding what homeowners of Guelph go through.

  5. David Birtwistle

    Don’t forget the illegal sale of kegged beer poured into red plastic cups by student renters (bootleggers?!)on HARVARD,to mention just one street

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