Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.
This saying holds true for residents of the Weston-Mt. Dennis community when it comes to West Park Healthcare Centre’s newly proposed gateway.
At its latest community meeting held Monday, Jan. 14, the centre unveiled the new sleek and polished design for the 25 foot sign that will sit at West Park’s new gateway at Eglinton and Emmett Avenue. The sign also comes with nine-feet-by-five-feet built-in digital screen that will display events happening in the community.
“I’m impressed,” said Marie Vieira, a resident on Forest Point Dr. “It’ll be a nice focal point for the area, it’s very modern.”
“...we wanted something to keep in with the architectural concepts we have going on campus."
– James Murphy
Other residents don’t quite see it the same way as Vieira.
“Yes, it needs to be clear, yes it needs to be visible, I fully understand that,” said Elizabeth Tysiaczny, a resident of Emmett Avenue for 30 plus years.
“But I think it’s intrusive, I don’t like the design. It’s too big. I think something a bit more subtle could have been designed.”
The gateway’s main purpose, aside from letting passersby know where the healthcare centre is, is to divert traffic away from the neighboring residential streets and onto Eglinton Avenue, which is now considered the “back door” of the West Park Healthcare Centre.
“We had some objectives when looking at the design, so we wanted something to keep in with the architectural concepts we have going on campus,” said James Murphy, vice-president of the West Park Foundation.
“It’s visual, prominent and easily identifiable.”
It will also include increased lighting going into the facilities as well as signs along the way that stick with the West Park Foundation’s theme of Road to Recovery. With this increased visibility West Park Healthcare Centre will no longer be what local councillor Frances Nunziata affectionately calls a hidden jewel, but a well polished gem for all of the community to see and find.
“It makes more sense to have the entrance on Emmett Avenue,” said Nunziata.
Besides the sign’s appearance, residents also had concerns about what the construction might do to neighboring homes in regards to cracking foundations, the inconvenience of the construction equipment itself at if Emmett Avenue required widening.
According to Nunziata, a widening of Emmett Avenue doesn’t appear to be needed and as for the foundations of homes being affected, assurance is provided for those who could be at risk.
Residents also got a first-hand look at the centre’s proposed new state-of-the-art patient care building which will provide 132 additional beds and include new services such as hemodialysis for kidney patients. Construction for this new centre, projected to begin in 2016 and end in 2020, will include the demolition of the existing Ruddy and Gage buildings and renovations to its main building.
In addition to the patient care centre, a new five-acre residential development will be built on the east end of West Park’s 27-acre property, dedicated to housing seniors and people with physical disabilities with a range of independence levels.
One thing residents did agree on, and applauded, was the announcement of the installation of a traffic light at Eglinton and Emmett avenues and its necessity. The light, will help manage the flow of traffic that will now be taken off of residential streets and on to the main roads.
The new gateway is expected to be unveiled June 11 while the traffic light is expected to go up sometime between the spring and fall.