Councillor Rae near the proposed site. Photo: Bessie Ng

Big bucks for student centre?

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By Anna Aquilina

Ryerson’s proposed student centre may receive a $2-million windfall from the City of Toronto.

Toronto councillor Kyle Rae said he supports RyeSAC’s initiative to build a student centre for Ryerson students.

“This is an important part of your future, and the redevelopment of Toronto as well,” said Rae.

“I think Ryerson should consider the city a benefactor in this,” he said.

“What I suggest is that Ryerson sit down with city staff and make a request for a donation from the city. This has been done in the past with the University of Toronto.”

Rae said U of T received $2 million from the city in 1994 to upgrade St. George Street, and $1 million in 1992 for a new building.

“I’m just a little bit tired of the University of Toronto always scooping money,” said Rae.

RyeSAC launched their student centre campaign, along with councillor Rae, on March 11, outside the proposed site for the student centre at 55 Gould St.

Rae spoke in support of the student centre. “It gives students a home downtown, a place of their own,” he said.

“Universities have received funds for projects — this one is one of the City of Toronto deserves to fund.”

David Steele, RyeSAC’s VP administration, said the student centre will act as Ryerson’s community home.

“We need to increase and encourage community support,” Steele said.

RyeSAC is asking for students’ support in a referendum vote during the board of directors elections March 25 and 26.

Not only will the city possibly aid with money, but students will vote on whether to divert funding from the current Athletic Capital Assessment, which costs each student $60 a year, to a fund that will be used to construct a student centre.

“The RyeSAC board of governors have both agreed to divert the funding. If the students say no, then the campaign to create a student centre will stop,” said Neera Shukla, RyeSAC’s campus centre commissioner.

If students do not vote in support of a student centre, another referendum will take place in five years.

Shukla said so far students have shown support for the student centre, which would cost $12 million to build. It would house student council, student groups and services, CKLN and The Eyeopener.

“Oakham House if now being used as a meeting place for groups, but it is often very congested and there is no space available for the services,” said Shukla.

Linda Grayson, Ryerson’s VP administration, said the property beside Oakham House will be contributed for a centre. Ryerson Centre will donate $500,000 towards the student centre. RyeSAC already has $500,000 set aside for the project.


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