University of Toronto to proceed with back campus fields project

TORONTO, June 12, 2013 /CNW/ - The University of Toronto is very pleased that Toronto city councillors re-affirmed the city's commitment to renewed fields on the university's historic back campus.  City council voted in favour of the University's plan to proceed with the project, which will involve creating two artificial turf fields. 

The fields will provide a venue for field hockey and para-sports during the 2015 Pan/Parapan-Am games.  More importantly for the university, they will resolve a long-standing problem of limited utilization of the back campus playing fields, and allow increased access for sport and recreation for students and the entire university community.  Construction on the fields will begin before the end of the month.

"The debate over the back campus has been waged with passion on both sides," said David Naylor, President of the University of Toronto.  "The University and its partners made a commitment to support the Pan/Parapan-American Games with this facility.  The City has now re-confirmed its commitment, and we're grateful.  We look forward both to new opportunities for our intramural and other recreational athletes and, of course, to helping host the Toronto 2015 events." 

While the motion voted on today at city council was a last-minute effort to stop the project, Vice President Scott Mabury stressed that the University consulted widely and first publicly surfaced the proposal for the facility back in 2009.  He added:  "We know that emotions ran high on this issue, and it's unfortunate that so much misinformation was circulated.  All the more reason for us to keep communicating, and to keep looking at this new installation from every angle once it's installed." 

Naylor thanked students, community members, faculty, staff and its partners at Toronto 2015, for making the project a reality and for their strong support during the debate leading up to today's city council decision.

"Without the enthusiasm of those who recognize the value these new fields have for the university and the community, this project would not have been possible," he said.   "We are happy to continue to work with the city and all our partners on all aspects of this project."

Naylor also noted that the University is already engaged in planning to ensure the preservation of the heritage of the entire St. George campus, including the back campus.  That planning will continue with the City as a full partner. 

SOURCE: University of Toronto

For further information:

University of Toronto Media Relations
416-978-0100; media.relations@utoronto.ca

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