The first UNA board meeting of 2024 took place Jan. 16 with one less director after the resignation of Jane Kang.
Kang resigned from her post on Jan. 11 after serving for over four years as an elected director on the UNA board.
A resident of Wesbrook Place, she was first elected to the board in 2019 with 455 votes. In that election, Kang finished in fourth place while running for one of three vacancies on the board. However, UNA bylaws that aim to ensure representation across all university neighbourhoods allowed her to claim the third spot, joining board chair Richard Watson and director Murray McCutcheon—both residents of Hawthorne Place.
She was re-elected in 2021 with 605 votes for a second term.
The Campus Resident reached out to Kang by email with questions regarding her resignation but did not receive a response at the time publication.
When asked if Kang provided a reason when submitting her resignation, UNA communications manager Glenda Ollero said Kang told the UNA board: “I had a vision when I became a director of the board. However, I come to realize that it is not possible for me to reconcile my vision with the goals of our organization under the current framework.”
The resignation now leaves two vacancies on the seven-person board of directors.
Similar to the way the resignation of Ali Mojdehi was handled last summer, the board has decided to delay filling the position through an appointment as is permitted under the UNA bylaws.
Instead, the board has decided to work with five members and will fill all vacancies during the next elections, which are scheduled for November of this year after the 4-year terms of the current board ends.
“The board decided that a more democratic process for determining any new director should be followed and noted that a new process would take several months to design and implement because a byelection would require a change to the UNA bylaws,” Ollero told The Campus Resident.
Ollero admitted that having two vacancies on a seven-member board “is not ideal” but added that the board has worked effectively with just five directors in the past. “Even though the board has two fewer elected directors, representation from the neighbourhoods remains adequate and balanced. For the most part, all board functions will continue without notable change.”
One challenge, she said, is that the community engagement advisory committee would be without the leadership of an elected director. The work of committee has now been suspended while the board reviews the committee’s terms of reference.
Garden plots in high demand
Plots at the UNA’s community gardens continue to be in high demand, directors were told.
Out of a total of 246 plots, 19 are expected to be vacated in the current year, yet there are 602 people on a waiting and transfer list.
A UNA report says the waitlists will only get longer as more people move to Wesbrook Place.
Board chair Richard Watson says the success of the garden plot program should encourage the UNA to find ways to expand the program.
UNA operations manager Wegland Sit told the board that the Hawthorne Community Garden plots have recently been rebuilt.
Land use planning community engagement in spring
Following submission of UBC’s Land Use Plan to the provincial government, UBC’s campus and community planning unit now is preparing a series of public consultations.
According to a UBC report presented to the UNA board during the January meeting, community members will be invited to participate in future planning for academic and neighbourhood lands on campus this year.
Up for discussion will be amendments to the Wesbrook Place Neighbourhood Plan, which will include detailed plans for Wesbrook Place South.
The report says community members will also be able to contribute to the development of biodiversity policies and participate in planning for the neighbourhood’s open spaces and natural areas.
Community engagement is expected to begin in late spring.
EMMANUEL SAMOGLOU IS THE MANAGING EDITOR OF THE CAMPUS RESIDENT.