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
Public Consultation – April 22nd to May 3rd, 2013
Learn more about the update to UBC’s Regional Context Statement in person or online:
- A Public Open House took place on April 23 from 4:00 p.m. to 7 p.m.
- Online consultation (click to take the online questionnaire) runs from April 22nd to May 3rd.
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: