Residents will have the opportunity to share their thoughts on UBC’s land use plan that proposes to double the population of the university neighborhoods by 2050.
The plan is part of Campus Vision 2050 – a detailed and ambitious plan that describes how the Point Grey campus will grow and change over the coming decades.
Specifically, the plan proposes to provide housing for an additional 24,000 people on campus, bringing the total population of residents and students on campus to 53,000.
Within the university neighbourhoods, a population of 35,700 in envisioned – double the current resident population of 15,000. The stock of dormitory housing on campus would also increase, providing beds for 17,300 students.
A public hearing is being organized by the University and scheduled for November 7 to receive feedback on the latest edition of the plan, but UNA directors have already come out with public criticism of the plan.
In a submission for the public hearing, UNA elected director and board chair Richard Watson said the amended land use plan prioritizes the sale of land leases over affordable housing and climate mitigation.
“Throughout UBC’s Campus Vision 2050 planning process, the UNA has advocated for prioritizing sustainable, affordable, and livable neighbourhood development. These goals align with the University’s own stated commitments on climate, housing availability and affordability, and the quality of its urban form,” Watson wrote.
“In spite of these shared goals, UBC has advanced a Land Use Plan that prioritizes the sale of land leases for market housing, much of which would come in the form of unaffordable, high-rise housing at twice the density of current neighbourhoods.”
“The UNA, along with other representatives of UBC residents, faculty, staff, and students, have registered their profound disagreement with this order of priorities, but these calls have gone unheeded.”
While acknowledging leasehold housing has a place in campus development, UNA directors said it should not comprise 70 per cent of all housing in UBC neighbourhoods.
The amended plan currently calls for increasing the target of rental housing in new construction from 30 per cent to 40 per cent, which UBC says would result in a total stock of 5,900 rental units by 2050. 25 per cent of the new housing would be in the form of below-market rentals for faculty and staff. The plan also includes expanding eligibility and the number of spaces in the university’s rent-geared-to-income program for faculty and staff who meet the program’s requirements.
In addition to concerns with the land use plan, the UNA’s board also has expressed “disappointment” over the process surrounding UBC’s public engagement event on November 7.
Specifically, the UNA has taken issue with the procedural rules for the event, which state that after the public hearing, UBC’s Board of Governors can either endorse, decline to endorse, or amend the land use plan, but cannot amend the densities of neighbourhoods as stated in the plan.
“We fail to see the point of a public hearing that precludes changes based on public input,” Watson wrote.
When contacted by The Campus Resident, Matthew Ramsey, director of university affairs at UBC Media Relations, provided information that stated any amendment of densities in the plan would require another public hearing.
“Proposed Land Use Plan amendments follow an established provincially legislated process administered by the university. Feedback from the public hearing will be presented to the UBC Board of Governors for their consideration,” Ramsay said in a follow-up statement to The Campus Resident.
“Ultimately it is the Minister of Municipal Affairs who is responsible for adopting amendments to the Land Use Plan.”
UBC’s Land Use Plan public hearing is scheduled to begin on November 7 at 4 p.m. in the Jack Poole Hall at the Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre. University neighbourhood residents can attend in-person or electronically via video conference.
Comments recorded during the hearing will form part of a report to UBC’s Board of Governors for a meeting scheduled for December 5, where they will consider any amendments to the plan, as well as submitting the Land Use Plan to the Province for adoption.
EMMANUEL SAMOGLOU IS THE MANAGING EDITOR OF THE CAMPUS RESIDENT.
UNA Submission to UBC Land Use Plan Public Hearing – https://www.myuna.ca/una-submission-to-ubc-land-use-plan-public-hearing/
UBC Campus Vision 2050 – Shaping the Future of UBC Vancouver (details on rental targets Page 57) – Click here.
Details – UNA Response to the Updated Draft Land Use Plan – https://www.myuna.ca/campusvision2050/
Full process for UBC Land Use Plan public engagement –https://bog3.sites.olt.ubc.ca/files/2023/10/4_2023.10_UBC-Vancouver-Land-Use-Plan-Update.pdf
Additional details on the Land Use Plan consultation process and the proposed amendments – https://campusvision2050.ubc.ca/lup