UBC Regional Context Statement – deadline TODAY for public input

The University of British Columbia is currently updating its Regional Context Statement. An open house was held on April 23, and today is the deadline for public input. See below for excerpts from the official website, and a link to the online survey, plus some additional information we’ve put together. We welcome further submissions to citizenYVR@gmail.com. UBC is a major player in change, development and transportation in the Lower Mainland and is something to watch. [Update May 10, 2013 – Here is added analysis on population projections and their significance, by Neal Jonson, http://ubcinsiders.ca/2013/05/ccp-discards-10000-students-from-campus-population-counts/]

UBC’s Regional Context Statement

UBC is undertaking a process to update it’s Regional Context Statement.

Public Consultation – April 22nd to May 3rd, 2013

Learn more about the update to UBC’s Regional Context Statement in person or online:

Background on UBC’s Regional Context Statement

UBC already has a “Regional Context Statement” to describe the link between its long range Land Use Plan and the larger context of Metro Vancouver’s Regional Growth Strategy. The Regional Context Statement is a short technical section at the beginning of the Land Use Plan.

In 2011, Metro Vancouver updated its Regional Growth Strategy, replacing the Livable Region Strategic Plan (adopted in 1996) with the adoption of a new updated strategy: Metro Vancouver 2040, Shaping Our Future.

In light of this, UBC is now voluntarily updating its Regional Context Statement.

Above is the UBC official material. Below is additional material from MetroVanWatch. 

  • One comment we received, and haven’t confirmed the facts, is  “UBC is trying to fudge their population numbers by not counting anyone who lives in UBC student residences. It allows them to conveniently omit thousands of people from their population projections.” 
  • MetroVanWatch comment: The concern here seems to be that undercounting of the population could result in under-funding of amenities, while a large amount of additional  density is added to the area in lucrative development projects.
  • MetroVanWatch comment: All local governments need to be fully transparent with their population forecasts, as this data is a basic ingredient of long term planning. All the numbers and assumptions should be made public, for public oversight now and in the future.
  • Local group “University Neighbourhoods Association” (http://www.myuna.ca/) today does not feature any mention of this consultation process.
  • The last election of the UNA board included a slate of members elected in September 2012 on a platform of “to move the association into a more aggressive position against high-density development of campus neighbourhoods.” See article in Ubyssey here.
  • A search today on the local newspaper, The Ubyssey (http://ubyssey.ca) turns up no results for “regional context statement.”
  • As of today, a Google News search indicates that this process at UBC did not get a single line of coverage in mainstream media.
  • One wonders what percentage of the affected residents have been properly notified of this consultation process. It will be interesting to see later how much input was actually received.
  • We note that a public hearing appears to be scheduled later in the year, so there could be another chance for interaction with decision-makers.
  • MetroVanWatch is aware of various views about about development at UBC. One knowledgeable commentator has described UBC as being a place of “taxation without representation, run by a development corporation company town.” With changes in governance in the past decade, even Metro Vancouver has no direct influence on development there. The UBC development plans have been called urban sprawl at its worst — cutting down forests to build high-density high-end condos that most students and staff cannot afford. Many have no choice but to commute from basement suites in East Side Vancouver, while taxpayers will be expected to pay for a $2-3 billion transit system to do it.


Below are more links to the UBC official website:

UBC’s Regional Context Statement

More web links MetroVanWatch has found, for anyone interested…

  • http://bog2.sites.olt.ubc.ca/files/2013/04/2.5_2013.04_Regional-Context-Statement.pdf (Board of Governors document approving the process)
  • UBC Land Use Plan Revisited (by Charlie Smith, October 27, 2010, in The Straight). Excellent background reading. Excerpt: FOR SEVERAL YEARS, senior officials at Metro Vancouver and UBC have been quarrelling over the pace of development at the Point Grey campus. UBC has maintained that it should be allowed to make decisions in the best interest of the university. This involved developing housing more quickly than the regional government wanted. Metro Vancouver staff, on the other hand, have expressed concerns that too much development can create traffic bottlenecks, which can undermine livability in the region…Under an official community plan adopted by Metro Vancouver in 1997, there were supposed to be 18,000 residents and students on campus by 2021. By 2008, there were almost 15,000 residents and students living there.However, UBC’s new land-use plan has forecast its campus population to rise by 2021 to between 41,800 and 51,800, including students in residence. “This level of population growth was not contemplated in the preparation of the Livable Region Strategic Plan or the new Regional Growth Strategy,” Smith wrote in the report. “There are a number of concerns with this level of growth, especially if this results in substantial commuting off campus. UBC should clarify of those 25,000 to 35,000 non-students”¦they envision living on campus, how many would be employees and their families?”
  • Another interesting article from 2010: “LUP [Land Use Plan] Amendments: Not as Advertised” by Neal Yonson, in UBC Insiders, 29-Nov-2010. Excerpt: The Public Hearing for the Land Use Plan amendments will be taking place tomorrow evening at 6 pm. Below is some info and thoughts on things that are contained in the amendment package. First, a note on the entire LUP amendment process. Holding the LUP Public Hearing should not be permitted at this time, as there was no consultation on the actual LUP amendments. The article goes into considerable detail on population forecasts, and details of the plan. 
  • UBC land-use plan revisited, Urban Development Institute, 27-Oct-2010.
  • Twitter feed for UBC Campus and Community Planning https://twitter.com/ubc_candcp
  • Website for UBC Campus and Community Planning http://www.planning.ubc.ca


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One Response to UBC Regional Context Statement – deadline TODAY for public input

  1. urbanizta says:

    Reblogged this on CityHallWatch: Tools for engagement in Vancouver city decisions, creating our future. and commented:

    UBC is a major factor in development, growth, and transportation in our entire region. Today is the deadline for public input on its Regional Context Statement. Some scrutiny is needed regarding population growth forecasts.

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