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Observatory sale called ‘cash grab’

<p>In 1930, the Richmond Hill property sold for $28,000. Now, it’s estimated to be worth more than $100 million. And that’s where to start if you’re wondering why the University of Toronto would put its historic David Dunlap Observatory, and the 75 hectares of parkland surrounding it, up for sale to the highest bidder.</p>

University offers historic site to the highest bidder


In 1930, the Richmond Hill property sold for $28,000.



Now, it’s estimated to be worth more than $100 million. And that’s where to start if you’re wondering why the University of Toronto would put its historic David Dunlap Observatory, and the 75 hectares of parkland surrounding it, up for sale to the highest bidder.



Proceeds from the sale, which the university’s governing council voted for this week, are to fund an astronomy research institute at the downtown campus.



The change won’t happen without a fight, though. Astronomers, local naturalists, and many politicians in the booming, park-starved town are unhappy with the plan.



"I personally believe it’s a cash grab" by the university, Richmond Hill Mayor David Barrow said. Since the observatory opened in 1935, the town has tried to support it through restrictions on lighting and emissions that might cloud its view of the night sky.




















critics say




  • Critics of the university plan say the observatory is useful for research and even more valuable for public education. As well, the site is the largest remaining swath of green in Richmond Hill, and a popular park.


 
 
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