Brampton U .. but where?

Where should we build a University in Brampton? – they ask

Honestly, do these people even live in Brampton?

How can they not know where to put this thing?

It may be hyperbole to state that there is a huge debate about where to put a University in Brampton, but it’s not far off the mark. There are the usual suspects, like Queen and McLaughlin, Four Corners, or Steeles and Hwy 10.  But these suggestions all miss the point of locating a University.

Why are so many people looking in the wrong place? It’s simple. They are asking not: “What can Brampton do for a University (and it’s students)?”, but instead “What can a University do for Brampton?”  Too long have decision makers used this paradigm to evaluate opportunities, to Brampton’s detriment. Evaluating every opportunity through the lens of “How can we use this to improve Four Corners?” is a cross we cannot afford to bear in locating this University.

Queen and McLaughlin? No one is going to want to drive there from the 410. It is far too far to the West to properly serve Brampton as a University Campus. It would be inaccessible for most of Brampton and will only drive more vehicle traffic through the already overcrowded roads leading to the site.

Four Corners? Very limited space, resulting in Rosealea Park as the most likely location, which is adjacent to very little, being physically separated from Four Corners via the Rail Line, and no room to grow outward due to the ravine and existing structures surrounding it.  Also, the area is a traffic nightmare, and unlikely to attract professors and visiting lecturers due to its inconvenience factor.

So, where does a University belong? At Queen Street and Central Park Drive. The reasons are many.

First, Queen and the 410 is the Geographic Centre of Brampton. And the University needs to be easily accessible to that interchange. Four Corners is not easily accessible to students, professors or guest lecturers who will be driving into the campus. Far more accessible is Queen and Central Park Drive. Sorry transit enthusiasts, if you force people onto transit to get to this campus, you are only diminishing the chances of success.

The old police Station located at Queen Street at Central Park Drive is still vacant, and the land can be repurposed in a very positive way. Any form of criminal justice studies will benefit from being adjacent to the Police Headquarters. So too would any municipal studies program be advantaged by being adjacent to the Region of Peel.

The location has robust transit, which is important even in the context of my earlier comment. Student housing is plentiful and the area could use the lift that student would bring.  There is plenty of retail and restaurants to provide leisure and employment to students. The location is across the street from Chinguacousy Park, offering leisure time and a location for varsity teams. No offence to the YMCA, but it’s not nearly large enough to service its existing clients and a university cohort. If one could acquire the old Regency Racquet Club, itself ripe for some upkeep, which has a large pool, the area is clearly varsity team ready. The Old City Hall, library and theatre all need some elbow grease, and transitioning these assets could really be the catalyst we’ve needed to do just that.

The area also has land nearby that can be put to higher and better uses, not the least of which is the orphaned portion of King’s Cross Road, the vacant lot where Club of Queen was located, and the owners of other lots on that stretch could also put their land to higher and better uses, either through student housing, institutional buildings or student life uses like bars, clubs and cafes (across from Chinguacousy Park, this is a no brainer).

The area is in the in the Queen Street intensification zone, and positioned along the future Queen LRT route; it is accessible to GO in two directions and could anchor some of the upgrades to Chinguacousy Park discussed elsewhere on this site.

#MayorJackson2018 would make this happen!


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