Published monthly by the University Neighbourhoods Association
Volume 1, Issue 8
December 20, 2010
Holiday Greetings from the UNA
Music Makes Season Joyous at Old Barn
Music filled the hearts of those at the Old Barn Community Centre on the night of Monday, December 13th. Those in attendance at the packed Old Barn delighted in the joyous sounds of the University Neighbourhoods Association’s Caroling Night. The audience at this free event enjoyed the ‘sounds of the season’ in performances by the Langley Ukulele group, the Pacific Ring Hand Bell Choir and both the UNA adult and children’s choirs. Caroling Night at the Old Barn every December has emerged as one of the most popular events on the UNA calendar.
USE OF UBC LAND - FULL COVERAGE PAGES 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
Consultation Comes to Close with Public Meeting on Campus 150 in attendance with 36 on speakers list; comments are varied with only few opposed outright to UBC proposals to rewrite its land use plan
UBC concluded consultations with ‘stakeholders’, local organizations and the general public about proposed amendments to its Land Use Plan (LUP) November 30th with a public meeting on campus attended by 150 people. Three dozen speakers at the meeting expressed a wide variety of opinions about the proposed amendments with only a few espousing views wholly opposed to either the proposed amendments or the process by which UBC
had presented them for consultation. Steven Biduk, a resident of the University Endowment Lands (UEL) and a member of the Pacific Spirit Park Society, for example, complained that “the consultation process designed and implemented by UBC makes it practically impossible for most members of the public to review the proposed amendments in any meaningful way.” Mr. Biduk called for the UBC board of governors to instruct its planners
Superstition Swings Prices Up and Down at UBC and in Other Metro Vancouver Housing Markets: UBC Study In markets like UBC (where population is 20% ethnic Chinese), homes with addresses ending in lucky number ‘8’ sold at a 2.5 per cent premium; those ending in unlucky number ‘4’ sold at a discount of 2.2 per cent. University research has found that Chinese number preferences can drive real estate prices of certain addresses up or down at UBC and in other neighbourhoods in Greater Vancouver with large numbers of ethnic Chinese residents. The study, the largest to date in
an emerging field of research on the economics of number beliefs, explores the impact of “lucky” and “unlucky” Chinese numbers on more than 115,000 residential real estate sales at UBC and in other neighbourhoods in Greater Vancouver over five years. SUPERSTITION cont’d page 2
“to organize new public hearings on the proposed amendments in the New Year.” (The Campus Resident carries the full text of Mr. Biduk’s remarks on Page 3.) Andrew Irvine, a professor of philosophy at UBC and a member of its board of governors, chaired the meeting which began with Prof. Irvine introducing the other six members of a committee appointed according to provincial statute with overseeing organization of the meeting. The other
Students See ‘Gage South’ As Out of Bounds for Market Residents
members included Sharon Wu, a UBC resident and chair of the University Neighbourhoods Association, UBC student Sean Heisler and two professional planners unrelated to UBC, namely Ken Cameron , a retired planner with Metro Vancouver, and Richard White, director of planning for the City of North Vancouver. Joe Stott, UBC director of planning, presented the case for UBC amending its LUP as proposed by first reviewing the consultation process which began in July. CONSULTATION cont’d page 4
Gage South is surrounded by student-oriented buildings; it is currently serving as the diesel bus depot UBC will review one of its proposed residential neighbourhoods on campus following “a request” from students who see plans for it as an incursion on student life. STUDENTS cont’d page 5
THE CAMPUS RESIDENT DECEMBER 20, 2010
SUPERSTITION from page 1
UBC economics professor Nicole Fortin and Jeff Huang, a graduate from the UBC honors program in economics.
Professor Fortin and Ph.D candidate Andrew Hill
In neighbourhoods such as UBC where the percentage of ethnic Chinese residents exceeds the regional average of 18 per cent, the study found that houses with addresses ending in the lucky number ‘eight’ sold at a 2.5 per cent premium, while those ending in the unlucky number ‘four’ sold at a discount of 2.2 per cent. This translates into a premium or discount of between $10,000 (premium) and $8,000 (discount), based on a $400,000 average price of a single family house in the Greater Vancouver area during the 2000-2005 sample period. “Our study shows that Chinese num-
self-identified as “ethnic Chinese” on the census exceeded 18 per cent of the population (UBC/UEL percentage is 20% according to the2001 Census). The research topic was proposed by UBC honors economics student Jeff Huang, who immigrated to Canada from Taiwan in 2004 and wanted to put Chinese number beliefs to a scientific test. The numbers’ positive and negative associations – which are rooted in feng shui, the ancient Chinese system of aesthetics – stem from how they are pronounced, Huang says. In many Chinese dialects, including Mandarin and Cantonese, four (四: sì) is a homonym for the word death (死: sǐ) and eight (八: bā) is phonetically similar to the word for prosperity or wealth (发: fā). Despite the findings, Huang says the study does not suggest everyone of Chinese heritage holds these preferences, or acts on them. “Obviously, there will be differences from person to person. For example, these beliefs may be stronger for recent immigrants than people whose families have lived in North America for generations.” Huang adds: “Our study suggests these numbers are significant to
ber preferences affect real estate prices in neighbourhoods where the census shows higher percentages of ethnic Chinese residents,” says lead author Nicole Fortin of UBC’s Dept. of Economics, who will present the study at the Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association in Denver, Colorado, in January. Using data from the Canadian Census and the B.C. Assessment Authority, Professor Fortin found the phenomenon present in 43 per cent of Greater Vancouver’s 361 census districts, including many in Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby and Coquitlam. These are neighbourhoods where people who
enough people in these areas that there is a corresponding impact on real estate prices.” The research team, which also included Ph.D candidate Andrew Hill – believes the findings will apply to other North American regions with significant Chinese communities, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu, Seattle, New Jersey and Toronto. Professor Fortin says real estate agents, buyers and sellers who are unaware of the phenomenon could be at a competitive disadvantage. “This shows that the address of your house can be more of a selling feature in some markets,” she says, noting that some real estate companies market houses ending with the number eight or 88 – the “double joy” number – to prospective buyers from China. Of the 115,000 house sales at UBC and elsewhere in Greater Vancouver between 2000 and 2005, nearly 14,000 had addresses ending in ‘eight’ and more than 7,260 had addresses ending in ‘four’. The team also found evidence of houses with addresses ending in ‘13’ being sold at similar discounts in other neighbourhoods.
Percentage of Ethnic Chinese (Single Ethnic Origin) in Lower Mainland by Census Tract (2001) In this Census, 21% of the residents of the UBC/UEL neighbourhood (Census Tract #069) said their ethnicity was Chinese.
THE CAMPUS RESIDENT DECEMBER 20, 2010
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LETTER TO THE EDITOR Resident Rebuffs Remarks by Forsyth I write concerning the article headed “UBC Uses Park to Sell Condos…” in your last issue. It refers to Dave Forsyth’s letter (speaking for the Pacific Spirit Park Society) to Maria Harris (our local GVRD Director) concerning a number of issues. Harris passed the letter on to Metro Vancouver and Metro published the criticisms that Forsyth levels at our community. These are that our community is not providing “its own green space”, is “using Pacific Spirit Park…as an amenity to market [our] high end housing developments” (a criticism directed at UBC and those who develop but one which applies equally to those of us who live in this community and will undoubtedly sell our properties at some point) and we should be providing increased “set-backs from the Park” to protect the Park from us. Forsyth’s criticism is either flat wrong or unfair (and incredibly hypocritical coming from a UEL resident, which Forsyth is). Our community does ensure the provision of its own green space. Our separate neighbourhoods provide significant green space within them. In addition, of course, we have, proximate to us, large amounts of green space provided by UBC by way of playing fields (in Hampton Place, where I live, literally across the street, there are acres of UBC playing fields which we are entitled (we pay towards their upkeep) to use). Metro Vancouver’s own rules (which still govern us) require that in developing our community we provide at least as much green space as provided in Vancouver (based on a ratio of residents to green space and acknowledging our access to community facilities (pools, rinks, etc.) provided by UBC). Metro has never suggested we have not met that ratio. Our neighbourhoods comprise about 183 acres and we have just over 50 acres of green space – I include the community use portion of Thunderbird fields. Compare this to the UEL from which Forsyth hails and which Metro Vancouver consistently ignores in this context. The UEL has 692 acres (this does not include the Golf Course or Pacific Spirit Park). The total UEL green space is 2.0 acres. Of the total acreage in our community, 30% is green space. Of the total acreage in the UEL, .3% is green space. That is
1/100th of the green space we provide! And the UEL’s Official Community Plan does not propose any further UEL green space. Why? Well, their OCP notes, green space (“recreational opportunities”) is available to the UEL (without, incidentally, paying anything toward the cost) by virtue of the UEL’s “proximity to some of the best facilities in North America at UBC [including those UNA residents provide and pay for] and… Vancouver”. When the UNA pointed this problem out to Metro, Metro did nothing. While proximity to the Park is undoubtedly a positive feature in valuing our community and our residences (high end or not) it is similarly so for the marketing of single family properties in the UEL (and Point Grey, Dunbar, etc.). Such single family properties in the UEL have an average assessed value of over $3,000,000 (which puts them in the decidedly “high end” category). In 2001, as required by Metro, an independent study was done. That study considered the use by UBC and its residents of surrounding amenities (including Pacific Spirit Park) and the counter-flow use by surrounding communities, like the UEL and Vancouver, of the amenities that we offer in our UNA neighbourhoods and the University generally. The report concludes, and I quote: “the ratio of offcampus use of campus leisure amenities [which now includes amenities we residents supply and for which we pay] to campus use of off-campus leisure amenities is at least 10:1 and could easily be more than 20:1”. What are the facts about Park setbacks? Our community borders Pacific Spirit Park for a total of 825 metres. The UEL adjoins the Park almost five times that distance (3,825 metres). For over 75% of the distance where our community joins the Park (in Wesbrook Place), we have established a green belt, walkway and a little used community road, which, from the east (closest) curb of the road to the edge of the Park, is almost 35 metres. This is twice what Metro required. And, when we developed Wesbrook Place, our community retained a 200 foot buffer of Park along 16th Avenue. The UEL does not have any set-back from the Park comparable to any of this (and in most places UEL properties
Why UBC Planners Should Have Prepared ‘Red-Line’ Document for Consultation By Stephen Biduk, resident, University Endowment Lands (UEL) I submit that the Committee (overseeing a public hearing on the proposed amendments to UBC Land Use Plan) should consider whether the consultation process designed by UBC meets the ordinary standards for public consultation on important planning documents. Normally, in the municipal context, the governing body produces a draft of the documents on which it seeks public input, and then makes that draft available to the public for their consideration. Then, after providing the public with some time for reflection, the governing body seeks considered public input through various processes like open houses, work shops and public hearings. The draft come first, then the consultation follows. A current example is the Regional Growth Strategy being developed by Metro Vancouver. A stand-alone draft of the Regional Growth Strategy has been available to the public on the Metro Vancouver website for the better part of a year; open houses and workshops were held in the Spring; and Metro Vancouver has now scheduled five separate public hearings over four days to receive public input into the draft. Those hearing are taking place this week (week of November 29-December 3) and include daytime and evening sessions. There are a number of factors that suggest that the consultation process has been atypical in this (UBC) case. 1. UBC tightly controlled the topics that were open for discussion at the July open house and the October workshops. 2. UBC did not produce a list of the actual amendments until very late in the process, after the normal consultation processes were closed, and has not provided any explanatory notes showing what the amendments are attempting to achieve. 3. UBC has declared that it will not receive any further comments on the Land Use Plan after the close of the hearing this evening (November 30th).
In addition, it is important to note that UBC has never published a standalone draft of the proposed Land Use Plan. Instead, UBC has only provided a terse list of amendments to the OCP (Official Community Plan). This forces people who might be interested in the Land Use Plan to first obtain a copy of the OCP, and then to do the work of tracking the impacts and affects of the proposed amendments by comparing the OCP to the UBC list of amendments. This process is deeply inconvenient and discourages public participation. Moreover, the webpage that UBC used to inform the public about this (Nov 30th) meeting actually misdirects people away from the OCP. Anyone looking for a copy of the newlyproposed Land Use Plan is directed to a webpage entitled ‘Land Use Plan Resource Documents’. There are two main links on that page. The first is supposed to be a link to the Current Land Use Plan (i.e. the OCP). The second is a link to the ‘Proposed Amendments’. In fact, both links take people to the same document called ‘Summary Documents-Nov 9.PDF’. The result is that UBC requires people to work through the OCP to figure out what the amendments mean, but then stymies anyone who might try to obtain a copy of that document. In summary, the consultation process designed and implemented by UBC makes it practically impossible for most members of the public to review the proposed amendments in any meaningful way. I urge the Committee to fix these flaws in the process: (1) by recommending that the (UBC) Board of Governors instruct Campus and Community Planning to immediately publish a ‘red-line’ document showing the proposed changes to the OCP, and (2) by recommending that the Board of Governors instruct Campus and Community Planning to organize a new public hearing on the proposed amendments in the New Year.
run right up against the Park without any set back). I believe that as a community we should work to meet the highest standards. Certainly we do a great deal more than does the UEL. Given the facts, it is unfair for these criticisms to be disseminated by Metro Vancouver without reference to what our immediate, larger neighbour and costeward the UEL does. To have our Metro Vancouver Director, Harris (a UEL resident herself) pass Forsyth’s letter on to Metro Vancouver without publicizing these facts in writing is, in my opinion, problematic. Harris should represent us as well as her fellow UEL residents. To have Metro disseminate this without reference to the fact that there are two communities
out here and that one is, on any measure, overly generous in providing and sharing amenities for and with the surrounding community while the other (the wealthier and lower taxed one) is content to supply virtually nothing and live off the amenities supplied by its neighbours, is a further indication of the lack of integrity and fair play on the part of Metro. Jim Taylor Resident, Hampton Place PLEASE SEE PAGE 5 FOR LETTER TO THE EDITOR FROM GARY RUPERT
THE CAMPUS RESIDENT DECEMBER 20, 2010
CONSULTATION from page 1
Special committee presides over land use plan public hearing at UBC
Mr. Stott said that “feedback” from two rounds of consultation—the first round including an Open House and two workshops, the second including further workshops and 44 outreach meetings—indicated “strong support for a majority of the proposals.” Mr. Stott said that feedback also indicated a series of public concerns. He pointed out that some people had “requested” that UBC not raise the height restriction on tall buildings for fear it impair the beauty
of the park surrounding it, and that others—mainly students—had requested that UBC not allow market housing in what is called ‘the Gage South area’ for fear it would prove wholly incompatible with student activity in this area. Gage South lies adjacent to such student landmarks as the Student Union Building (SUB), the War Memorial Gymnasium, and Student Recreational Centre. It also lies adjacent to the proposed site of a new diesel bus terminal—the bulk
of whose users would be students. Mr. Stott further presented the case for UBC amending its LUP as proposed by reviewing the public survey UBC commissioned. He pointed out that this survey also showed “strong support for the proposed amendments.” With the consultation period for proposed amendments to the LUP concluded, UBC planners will now prepare a fully-fleshed out Land Use Plan for review by the UBC board likely in Janu-
ary. Should the board accept it, UBC will present it to Stephanie Cadieux, minister of community, sport and culture for approval. In the event Ms. Cadiuex approves it, the Land Use Plan will replace the Official Community Plan (OCP), which was initially approved by Metro Vancouver in 1997. In June of this year, the provincial government replaced Metro Vancouver in favor of itself as overseer of land use planning issues at UBC.
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THE CAMPUS RESIDENT DECEMBER 20, 2010 STUDENTS from page 1
Students describe the Gage South area of campus as part of the ‘student hub’, and have demonstrated a singular will in pressing UBC planners into accepting this perception of the space located adjacent to such major student-oriented buildings and facilities as the Student Union Building (SUB), Student Recreation Centre (The rec Centre), War Memorial Gymnasium, MacInnes Field, the outdoor Empire Pool and the Aquatic Center. Gage South, covering only a few acres, enjoys use currently as the temporary terminal for diesel buses running to and from UBC. UBC has ear-marked it for residential housing development since January 17, 2006 when the UBC governors approved a neighbourhood plan for the site. Recent events—in particular the process of UBC amending its land use plan—have forced this otherwise nondescript patch of land into the spotlight. Students have focused on the proposed land use map UBC prepared for public scrutiny and found the proposed use of Gage South as a residential neighbourhood (in the same category as Hampton Place, Hawthorn Place and other residential neighbourhoods) incompatible with the overarching theme of student activity in the area. UBC planners give the following physical description of the Gage South site: 19,200 square meters of gross building area for up to 207 housing units (with 400-450 residents). Development there would generate townhouses, stacked townhouses and/or low-rise apartments. The board-approved neighbourhood plan highlights Gage South in the following manner: • it will provide university rental housing, which is for households where at least one household member works or studies on campus; • at least half of the units in Gage South will be rented at less than market rates (non-market) to provide a greater range of affordability for campus renters; • housing will be primarily targeted to faculty, staff and graduate students; • ancillary uses will be permitted within Gage South including homebased businesses appropriate to a residential setting. Students, however, speaking both individually and through the Alma Mater Society (AMS), which represents 40,000 plus students on campus, hesitate to be so emphatic about the future use of Gage South. They indicated their concern about the future of Gage South and the extent to which its development might impact adversely on student activities in the area by speaking out at a pubic meeting which UBC called November 30 to discuss proposed amendments to its Land Use Plan. Student Kyle Warwick, AMS Councilor (Arts) inspired applause from fellow-students in a strong turn-out of 150 people at the meeting (about half of them students) when he said, “Gage South is reflective of student emotions. Students have bigger social lives than residents. So you have the basis for a culture clash right there.” A fifth year student at UBC named ‘Paul’ joined Mr. Warwick in his remarks. Speaking emphatically, Paul
said, “No market housing in Gage. Make campus for students. It’s for them.” Ben Cappellacci journeyed to the podium to address a public hearing committee of seven led by UBC professor and UBC governor Andrew Irvine on behalf of the AMS. Mr. Cappellacci, AMS vice-president, academic, said that while the AMS supports a land use plan that (in turn) supports the academic mission of the university, the AMS remains firmly committed to the zoning of Gage South as academic—academic meaning that residence by non-students would not be allowed there. Students know that what has pushed Gage South into the spotlight as much as scrutiny brought on by the proposed land use plan amendments process is the nearby development of another neighbourhood, namely the University Boulevard neighbourhood. UBC has kept trying to develop University Boulevard for much of the last decade—and now seems poised to achieve success thanks in large part to its student body which has approved the construction of a student-financed $100 million new student union building—a building which will serve as the biggest component of the University Boulevard neighbourhood. The students have evidently leveraged their political muscle in University Boulevard into projects elsewhere such as the nearby Gage South development.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR Issue of parking is disillusioning The recent Campus Resident included an article indicating the Board is looking into low UNA election turnouts. That is very responsible as participation is the bedrock of democratic process. I suggest, however, that the Board needs to start with their own history and be objective about assessing whether the issues they spend their time on matter to the majority. There could be two conclusions, either most residents aren’t concerned or they might be concerned if they had better, more accessible information. An example of an important issue that is disillusioning is the issue of neighbourhood parking, particularly in Hawthorn Place. Residents have long had to put up with blame being put on UBC officials while streets filled with student parking or parking from soccer field use on the weekends. It may be the case that UBC action is needed, but there is little evidence of energetic pursuit of a solution from our elected representatives and it has been 5 years! When inaction is ongoing, the response is either “kick the bums out,” or “why should I care?” I suppose the first response option would bring about more involvement in elections, but unfortunately, the second response may be the norm. One won’t care about an enterprise that appears unresponsive or ineffective. Gary Rupert Hawthorn Place
Aerial Photo. Image courtesy of UBC.
View from North West. Image courtesy of UBC.
THE CAMPUS RESIDENT DECEMBER 20, 2010
Green Space Slips from View as Campus Builds out, Let’s Save What is Left before All is Gone, Says Instructor Group
Thank you for giving the public an opportunity for input on your land use plan revisions.
My name is Hilary Reid. I am taking the time to appear before you tonight on behalf of myself and seven of my colleagues because we care about this university. I am passionate about UBC for the following reasons. First, I am an Alumnus of the university. Second, I am a near neighbour of the campus. Third, my Grandfather, Robert H. Clark, was one of the three founding members of the UBC Chemistry Faculty, teaching here from 1916 to 1946. Fourth, my father, Robert Mills Clark, taught at UBC in the Dept. of Economics from 1946 until 1985. He was also Director of Academic Planning at UBC for over a decade during that time. Fifth, I have been teaching at UBC since 1982 , for the English Dept., the Faculty of Commerce, and currently for the English Language Institute, where I instruct international students. This makes for a total of 94 consecutive years of teaching at UBC by members of my family. Sixth, I have a son in 4th year at UBC. Here are a few brief thoughts and questions which my colleagues and I would like to put to the Board of Governors in relation to the proposed land use amendments. First, what kind of unique sense of place do you wish to endow UBC with 100 years from now? How will its physical character reflect its identity as
All classes located at
PHOTO: CHARLES MENZIES
A brief presented at a November 30th public hearing into the proposed amendments to the UBC Land Use Plan by UBC instructor Hilary Reid on behalf of herself and fellow-instructors Katherine Coburn, Margot Eden, Grant Lovelock, Eleanor Narod, Sylvia Ozbalt, Rosabella Prasad and Joyce White.
Trees That To
Ponderosa Pine: Will this beautiful tree be pulled down to make way for development at UBC?
a unique university on BC’s west coast? In what way will its appearance be different from downtown, the Arbutus lands, or any other highly built up area? You may have seen the letter in The Vancouver Sun a few weeks ago by a Chris Szabo, who wrote of UBC’s recent development to date: “It’s all about concrete and glass, cramming as many customers as possible into as many tiny rooms as possible....UBC has lost sight of its purpose, is abusing its authority and acting like a greedy private-sector developer.” (Vancouver Sun, Oct. 2010). Unfortunately, this writer has given voice to what so many neighbours, alumni, students, faculty and staff also feel: that in the rush to cash out on its valuable land endowment, UBC has lost sight of other aspects of the physical legacy it is entrusted with. What does the “UBC brand” look like? Clearly the university is aiming high academically, and has had impressive success in this area. However, UBC in the past has been at least as famous for the beauty of its natural setting as for the learning that takes place on its campus. This has, in fact, been an intrinsic and iconic part of its special “brand”. UBC’s natural treed setting has made it as distinctively unique and west coast as an Emily Carr painting.
How do we know that UBC’s treed setting is important? Ask any UBC student or Alumnus, and they will tell you. Ask any of our colleagues. We also hear a great deal about it from our international students, a group whom UBC is increasingly interested in attracting. Here are a few unsolicited comments taken from some of our international students’ writing on their first impressions of UBC: “UBC is a famous university in the world, and every student in China know[s] it. The beautiful environment [on] campus and high quality ...facilities attract me a lot...” “UBC should be considered a public park rather than university, it is beautiful with many different trees, flowers, snowy mountains, animals, seascape, etc.” “UBC was an eye opening experience. The untouched prehistoric forests are incorporated nicely with the academic feeling of UBC’s lecture halls.” In other words, the natural treed setting of the UBC campus is incredibly important to its unique sense of identity, and famous internationally. Stewardship of this legacy should be central to the planning process for the future of the campus. But is it? Mention of this is woefully lacking in the campus plan amendments. Here are a few concerns related to the proposed changes:
THE CAMPUS RESIDENT DECEMBER 20, 2010
ouch Our Lives
Continued from October and November issues of The Campus Resident
Clear cut at Agronomy Road and Wesbrook Mall. Trees are pulled down to make way for market housing development in East Campus.
Retaining the UBC farm is worthwhile; transferring all displaced density en mass to the rest of campus is of grave concern. UBC has already been losing green space at a rapid rate. Cramming all that density into the main campus and the Acadia area by infilling may mean building on those few remaining green areas essential to UBC’s character and its residents’ well being. Research is increasingly clear on the health and psychological benefits of living adjacent to green space. So what should be done, before these major land use amendments are approved? Here are a few suggestions: Before any further building takes place, an inventory of all remaining natural green spaces on the main campus and in the Acadia area needs to be made. A very high priority should be put on retaining remaining green spaces intact, especially if they are treed or in a natural state. This would include the green treed sections of Acadia, and other remaining green spaces on campus, including the one right outside The Ponderosa Building, with its magnificent Ponderosa Pine, vine maples, and rhododendrons. (We understand even this green oasis is, unbelievably, slated for development. This should only happen if the new buildings retain the same footprint as those already here, so the green space
is undisturbed.) Density should then be planned around the stated priority of retaining existing green and treed spaces wherever possible. New building should take place on already paved or non-green surfaces like parking lots, where older inefficient buildings currently exist, and in the central core around SUB. Height is preferable to sprawl, as long as sensitivity is shown to views from neighbouring areas. UBC also needs to do a better job in future of honouring its commitments to retaining previously identified important green spaces. Reneging on earlier commitments to retain treed areas has already happened in the VST precinct, in the forested area across from the new Thunderbird Stadium parkade, and in front of the former NRC building on 16th Ave, which is now a monolithic eyesore sitting in a clear-cut. If UBC is to gain back even an iota of the public respect it has lost by behaving in this cavalier manner, it needs to replant indigenous trees in these areas. The stewardship of this campus is a sacred trust for future generations. The endowment of these lands is a gift of much more than just money. The legacy value of UBC’s unique, natural treed beauty must be at least as important in campus planning considerations as financial endowment.
Clear cut between 16th Avenue and National Research Council Building (being converted into high school)
There is nothing stopping UBC’s Board of Governors from reducing slightly the amount of density it is planning, to facilitate the retention of important and iconic green spaces. Density for density’s sake is the tail wagging the dog. Finally, it is critical for UBC to ask itself, at this time, whether its job is primarily to be a real estate developer, or to be equally concerned with the stewardship of a world class university overall, including its setting, natural en-
vironment, and unique sense of place. In 100 years, what will the UBC brand look like? Will the choices you make now be ones you can be proud of, and that future generations will thank you for?Tuum Est. It is yours to protect or yours to destroy. But it is not yours to keep. Please take this stewardship responsibility very seriously. We are at a critical juncture in the history of this university. In your hands is placed a sacred trust.
THE CAMPUS RESIDENT DECEMBER 20, 2010
Report on Land Use Meeting It’s Yours, Says Motto, It’s Theirs, Say Students UBC students at a November 30th public meeting raised what to them is the specter of student-residents being out-numbered by non-student residents as the University campus is built out in the years to come. One student referred to UBC plans which project 24,000 non-student residents on campus by 2040 and “only” 16,000 students as inconceivable at any other university. To applause from fellow-students at the meeting called to discuss land use values, he said, “We’ll be guests on this campus. We won’t be the ones that this campus is for.” Student Jeff Marr rephrased this is more scathing terms. Mr. Marr pointed out that the UBC Motto ‘Tuum Est’ translates as ‘It’s Yours’ (meaning UBC belongs to you, the stu-
Make Campus as Dense As Southeast False Creek: Student Tom Dvorak, a former vice-president finance of the Alma Mater Society, presented a simple and singular formula for the use of land at UBC— drive density up and make buildings taller, “Land on this campus is a very
dents). In fact, Mr. Marr said, “You might as well change Tuum Est to ‘It’s Theirs’” (meaning UBC belongs to them, the residents). Another student called for campus to be populated by as many students as possible. “I believe that the plans currently laid out on student housing are not enough,” he said, citing the need for taller building heights in part to allow for more student housing.” Student Neal Yonson wondered whether UBC would be able to abide by one of its UBC sustainability imperatives, namely reducing the number of cars traveling to and from campus. Editor of UBC Insiders, a much-read blog, Mr. Yonson worded his question as follows, “Will having one student on campus be offset by having two residents who would take their cars off campus?” scarce resource and I think it’s important to take advantage of it. We should push density even higher than UBC is proposing,” Mr. Dvorak said at a public meeting held to debate proposed amendments to the UBC Land Use Plan. He proposed developing campus much in the way Vancouver has developed Southeast False Creek, “which is a great community when not in foreclosure.”
Neil Guppy, UBC professor and head of department
Prof Praises Land Plan As “Visionary.” Neil Guppy, head of department of sociology at UBC, called the Official Community Plan (OCP)—in place until the proposed Land Use Plan (LUP) is approved—“visionary.” Professor Guppy, who has taught sociology at UBC for 32 years, said
he was in support of the proposed amendments which will convert the OCP—which had been in effect since 1997—into the LUP. “UBC was beautiful (under the OCP). This will make it more beautiful,” he said.
Sustainability Contest The UNA’s Sustainability Committee wants to provide practical tips on how each of us can contribute to sustainability. Thus this contest which we run each month in this newspaper. If you have a tip please forward it to the UNA Sustainability Contest at both firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. The author of the tip selected will receive a $25.00 gift certificate (courtesy of Save-On) for use in our local SaveOn Supermarket and at the end of the year there will be a significant prize for the year’s winner. People connected to the Sustainability Committee in any way should assume that while their suggestions may be found to have great merit, and be published, they will not lead to a prize. This month’s tip is: Lower your mobile phone’s power consumption! Tired of having to recharge your mobile phone everyday? Disable some unessential features and save power! Try these handy tricks: Change your display screen setting to the lowest luminous intensity; set the ringer to a lower volume and only use the vibrate function when absolutely necessary; if you have a clam-shell style phone, disable the outside display screen; lastly, disable the keyboard illumination feature. These illumination features are
not needed during the daylight and in the evening you can use room or street lighting to guide you. These are the big power consuming features of most phones, other than the signal transmission. [Submitted by Dave K. Marchand]. Dave receives the monthly prize of a $25 Save-On gift certificate from Save-On. Congratulations!
THIS CONTEST IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE UNA SUSTAINABILITY COMMITTEE. WE ACKNOWLEDGE THE PARTICIPATION AND SUPPORT OF ONE OF OUR COMMUNITY’S PARTNERS IN SUSTAINABILITY, WESBROOK PLACE’S SAVE-ON SUPERMARKET.
THE CAMPUS RESIDENT DECEMBER 20, 2010
Draft of Land Use Plan Draws Ire of Neighbours In Point Grey, Dunbar UBC is faulted for lack of concern about impact of development: consultation process also faulted Spokespersons for West Point Grey and Dunbar did not speak kindly of UBC proposals to improve the use of campus land at the meeting. Two representatives of neighbours in Dunbar declared that UBC seemed indifferent to the adverse impact of land development in their community, while one in West Point Grey declared that creating greater density on campus is creating serious concern of increased traffic flowing through her community. Representing the West Point Grey Community Liaison Committee, Elizabeth Murphy said UBC densification flies in the face of Metro Vancouver regional growth guidelines. “For UBC to be creating a city at the end of the peninsula that would be fed through the City of Vancouver doesn’t make sense as far as sustainability is concerned. It’s like putting a city at the end of nowhere.” Ms. Murphy called densification on campus “sprawl”, and said, “UBC is developing this sprawl in many ways: cutting down forest, building market condos that are too expensive for students and staff, while students are commuting from basements around a Lower Mainland that needs a $2 billion transit system.” She claimed the need for less condos on campus and more student housing.
“Private market housing has become the industry of UBC rather than academics. I think there needs to be a shift of priority. UBC is not supposed to be a development company creating a city. It’s supposed to be a university that’s training and teaching people and creating a model for academic rather than development.” In the same vein, Susan Chapman, president of Dunbar Resident’s Association, said UBC development has been a Dunbar concern for some time, primarily because of its impact on traffic and schools. Ms. Chapman saved her harshest remarks for the consultation process UBC initiated in seeking to amend its land use plan. “Consultation has not been useful,” she said. “Another word is going to have to be found for UBC consultation because this one has gotten a bad reputation.” She scorned the filling in of a feedback form UBC circulated. “Frankly, it seemed like a waste of time.” Jane Ingman-Baker, chair of the Dunbar CityPlan Committee, said she believes having 23,000 residents on campus would significantly affect Dunbar. “We understand the fiscal pressure that has led to the need to develop market housing on campus. We’re not naïve. However, we don’t believe UBC has sufficiently taken into account the impact of this development on its neighbours.” In sharp contrast to these comments, UBC resident Mike Feeley applauded
UBC for making affordable housing available on campus. A UBC professor and former chair of the University Neighbourhoods Association, Professor Feeley said, “I would not be able to live in Dunbar. “I’d like to support the proposed amendments and commend UBC on
what has been a very good and thorough public consultation. “I am glad to see the UBC Farm saved, and also like to see that density remains because it will make my community vibrant and also good for the endowment.”
Elizabeth Murphy, West Point Grey Resident
THE CAMPUS RESIDENT DECEMBER 20, 2010
Make Towers Subject to ‘View Analyses’, Says Wreck Beach Legend Towers over 30 meters would be covered by new development rule; but not all of campus would be affected Judy Williams, legendary chair of the Wreck Beach Preservation Society, has called on the University of British Columbia to make the construction of towers taller than 30 meters in some parts of campus subject to ‘view analyses’ as a way of protecting views from the nude beach at low tide. Ms. Williams cited the proposal during her submission on behalf of the society at the public meeting, arguing that if accepted, it would not only prevent visual impacts on Wreck Beach. “It would promote neighbourliness and reduce and remove tensions between UBC and community groups like the Wreck Beach Society,” she said. Tensions between UBC and the Wreck Beach Preservation Society peaked during construction of the Marine Towers Student Residences on South West Marine Drive when—in 2004—the society complained that the top of one of these towers was visible from the beach at low tide. UBC pointed out, however, that the top of the tower stood at—or within—the height limit outlined in the Official Community Plan (OCP). Negotiations between Metro Vancouver and UBC led to UBC offering to lower the height of further towers at the site. The issue left considerable chagrin on both sides. Metro oversaw land use planning at UBC at that time, and many have observed that the Wreck Beach dispute— reported in media around the world—
led in large part to such disrepair of relations between Metro and UBC that the provincial government was forced to step in in June of this year to take over land use planning oversight at UBC from Metro. Ms. Williams, a retired school teacher with masters degree in education from UBC, said that UBC—seeking to convert its Metro-mandated OCP into a government-mandated Land Use Plan (LUP)—should include in it the following new rule: “To prevent the visual effects of campus buildings on views from Wreck Beach, any proposed project that is located either in the area west of Lower Mall between Memorial Road and the southern edge of the west parkade building #900, or in the area west of West Mall between Biological Sciences Road and Stadium Road, and that is taller than 30 meters above existing grade, is required to provide a precautionary, site-specific view analysis from various points along the low tide line as part of UBC’s project review process. The intention of this policy is to ensure that no buildings are visible from Wreck Beach at low tide. UBC will notify and consult Metro Vancouver Parks, the Wreck Beach Preservation Society, and the Pacific Spirit Park Society about any proposals for buildings taller than 30 meters in the specific areas, prior to final siting decision being made.”
Judy Williams, chair, Wreck Beach Preservation Society
Metro Board Backs Changes to Electoral Area A Voting Procedures UBC/UEL electors will be better informed in 2011 local government elections The board of Metro Vancouver directors has approved a series of staff proposals and suggestions for improving the local government election process at UBC, the University Endowment Lands and elsewhere in Electoral Area A. The Electoral Area A committee,
chaired by local Metro director Maria Harris, had approved the staff proposals earlier. Largely on the strength of comments about the local government election process in Electoral Area A by UBC resident Charles Menzies, who ran against Ms. Harris and others on the
November, 2008 round of local government elections, Metro Vancouver initiated a staff review. Staff then implemented a plan which included seeking written submissions about the Electoral Area A election process by inviting comment through advertisements in local newspapers
(including The Campus Resident) and the Metro Vancouver website, and mailing directly to representative organizations in the Electoral Area (including the University Neighbourhoods Association and the University Endowments Lands administration). Staff sought resident feedback on such themes as how to improve elector registration, how Metro might better communicate details of a pending election in Electoral Area and how to better dovetail the Electoral Area A election with the Vancouver School election held at the same time and at the same polling stations. Twelve residents or resident organizations submitted proposals. Metro staff took several suggestions from the public for further review and—subject to Metro approval—inclusion in the 2011 election process, including the following: • use of Elections BC voter data to reach out to registered electors; • addition of voting opportunities in UBC campus residences; and • use of social media to engage electors. The next Electoral Area A election of Metro director takes place November, 2011.
THE CAMPUS RESIDENT DECEMBER 20, 2010
Skating Party Packs Community Rink
A skating party from the University Neighbourhoods Association and the Old Barn Community Centre did justice to the wonderful community rink at UBC on Sunday, December 5. More than 100 UNA members, community centre users and others decided to take to the ice at this new rink (Rink C) at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre, 6066 Thunderbird Blvd. Entire families enjoyed themselves in the one hour free skate (skate rentals $3.50). The group of people enjoying this event has only enlarged since it was launched a few years ago.
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UNA Asks You to Create Memories Not Garbage over Holiday Season As you plan for the holidays, the University Neighbourhoods Association asks you to take the time to think about what you are buying and where it will end up. There are lots of ways to celebrate the holiday spirit and share gifts with family and friends without leaning on the landfill, the UNA says. For example, choose decorations that can be used year to year. If they cost a bit more, start a collection and add pieces as you go. Also, find gifts that weren’t shipped very far, or have recyclable parts, that will last a long time. A toy car made in BC has a fraction of the amount of waste, energy and carbon associated with it as something made, packaged and shipped from overseas. Do you plan the holiday meals? If your city has food scraps recycling, make holiday meal clean up easy. Put your food scraps right into your yard waste bin. It all goes to a regional compost facility. If you don’t have this program yet, then shop carefully to reduce the amount of leftovers you’ll have. We can all find ways to send less food to the landfill. It’s one of the greenest habits you can form. If you are giving or receiving electronics, make sure you re-use or recycle the old ones. There are lots of locations to take back your cell phone, batteries, old games, VCRs, big TVs, PCs, DVDs and more. Give your garbage can a break! Visit www.MetroVancouverRecycles.org for a comprehensive list of things that can be donated, reused or recycled. ‘Create memories, not garbage’: This is one of the messages of a new Metro Vancouver campaign aimed at consumers during the gift-giving season.
“Think about what you are buying and where it will end up,” said Greg Moore, Chair of Metro Vancouver’s waste management committee. “Give your family and friends something that won’t get buried in a landfill after a few months. Give gifts that last or share an experience.” During the first two weeks that follow Christmas and the New Year, a largerthan-normal mountain of trash ends up in the region’s solid waste transfer stations. Last winter, for instance, about 13,000 tonnes of garbage was dropped off during the week that included Christmas and New Year’s Day, compared to about 17,000 tonnes during the first week of January. The average municipal garbage truck holds about seven tonnes, so 4,000 tonnes of garbage would fill more than 500 garbage trucks. The data collected at waste transfer stations in previous years shows the number of vehicles dropping off garbage usually goes up by about 10 per cent after the winter holidays. However, the weight of the trash left behind by those vehicles is only five per cent higher than the pre-Christmas period – likely because a lot of light packaging waste is brought in just after Christmas and Boxing Day. This July, Metro Vancouver’s board of directors endorsed an Integrated Solid Waste and Resource Management Plan with an ambitious target: a 70 per cent waste diversion rate by 2015. The region is striving to reach an 80 per cent waste diversion rate by 2020. The region now diverts or recycles about 55 per cent of its solid waste or garbage from landfills or Metro Vancouver’s Waste-to-Energy Facility in Burnaby.
THE CAMPUS RESIDENT DECEMBER 20, 2010