NDG residents upset about Concordia plan to build on soccer field

People living near Concordia University’s Loyola Campus in NDG aren’t happy about the proposed location for one of the school’s new buildings.

Concordia is opening a research facility at the Loyola campus but neighbours don't want to lose green space

Irwin Rapoport is leading the campaign against the location of the new building. (CBC)

People living near Concordia University's Loyola Campus in NDG aren't happy about the proposed location for one of the school's new buildings.

The university wants to build an applied science and research hub right behind the science pavilion, near West Broadway Street.

But in order to do so, they will use about 15 per cent of a soccer field on campus, and some don't want to see that green space go.

Irwin Rapoport lives nearby and is leading the efforts to stop the development. He has played and coached soccer on the field and says it's a well-used public space.

"We don't want to stop Concordia from developing new buildings on the campus. We want them to build them on parking lots with underground parking. We want all the green space on the campus to be left alone and protected indefinitely," he said.
Some neighbourhood residents say the field, behind the science pavilion and near the Hingston Hall residences, is well-used public space. (CBC)

He and other area residents want there to be a referendum on the project. He's gathered 88 signatures and handed them in to the borough in order to open a public register, the first step in the referendum process.

​He also said he plans to attend a council meeting in early September in order to ask questions about the project.

School trying to appease neighbours

Concordia spokesperson Fiona Downey said the school received the necessary authorization to move forward with the project, but can't build underground.

The school wants the new building to be close enough to the science pavilion that the two can be linked by a pedestrian walkway, she explained.

She said the building will be far away from the neighbours, and says the university is trying to be mindful of its neighbours' requests.

"In considering our needs we always weigh the neighbours, because we know they have an attachment to this place."

The building is part of a $52-million project to encourage science research and innovation at Concordia. Construction is slated to begin in 2018.

with files from Radio-Canada's Diana Gonzalez and CBC's Navneet Pall