Waterfront offers athletic centre site

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By Carys Mills

Everything Ryerson wants from its new athletic facility could be found on Toronto’s waterfront – except for a close location.

A city project, located at Commisioners Street and Don Roadway, could be Ryerson’s chance at securing a site with potential for an arena, field and track nearby, according to athletic director, Ivan Joseph.

The City of Toronto is planning to build an arena in the Port Lands area of the waterfront and has approached Ryerson about partnering. While Ryerson waits to hear about federal funding for Maple Leaf Gardens, another potential site, the university is considering the offer.

Joseph admits the waterfront location isn’t close to campus. but he said the choice could be as simple as “far away or nothing.”

Elaine Baxter-Trahair, the city’s waterfront project director, said the arena would be about 20 minutes away from campus.

It’s set to open during the spring of 2011, according to Baxter-Trahair. If the partnership happens, the arena could have three ice rinks, a lacrosse dry pad, exercise rooms, a track and commercial space.

“There would be dedicated space for Ryerson,” said Baxter-Trahair.

But exactly how the space would be shared would be determined by negotiations. The financial contribution needed from Ryerson will be unknown until an estimate for the entire project is available, which should be by the end of 2009.

City councillor Kyle Rae isn’t a fan of the potential partnership. “If you’re going to provide a service, why wouldn’t you do it where students live?” he asked.

“We really do have to get on with choosing a site for the facility,” said Sheldon Levy, Ryerson’s president.

Levy said that although the waterfront would be too far for an academic facility, having a satellite athletic centre is a definite possibility.


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