Saturday, November 21, 2009

UNA responds to Metro Vancouver

Three delegations from the UBC community spoke to the Electoral Area 'A' committee of Metro Vancouver on Friday, November 20th, 2009. In addition to myself, Blake Fredericks, president of the AMS and Mike Feeley, chair of the UNA spoke. Included below is a statement sent to the UNA membership from Mike Feeley following the meeting.

I would like to update you on a developing issue at Metro Vancouver that affects us.
You may have heard in news reports or elsewhere that Metro Vancouver has proposed establishing a Zoning Bylaw for the UBC Vancouver Campus, including the family housing areas in which we live and for which the UNA provides local governance. This draft bylaw and other information are available here:
You may also have heard that UBC has asked the Metro Vancouver Board to withdraw this proposal and has said it will not participate in the Working Group that Metro is establishing to consider the bylaw. In their objection, UBC distinguishes between the academic and family housing parts of campus, focusing their concern on zoning of academic lands. President Toope outlines UBC's positions in two statements available on UBC's web page:
The UNA Board has been following developments closely and has several concerns. Mainly, we seek to ensure that no outside group can impose zoning restrictions on UNA areas without our consent. Unfortunately, it appears that Metro Vancouver is proposing to do precisely this, as indicated by their proposed Working Group composition:
  • Metro Vancouver: 1 member from Regional Development and 1 member from Parks
  • UBC: 1 member from Campus Planning and 1 member from Properties Trust
  • UNA: 2 members
  • City of Vancouver: 1 member
  • BC Ministry of Transportation: 1 member
  • University Endowment Lands (UEL): 1 member
  • UBC Alma Mater Society (AMS - UBC Students): 1 member
  • Musqueam Band: 1 member
  • Pacific Spirit Part Society: 1 member
  • Wreck Beach Preservation Society: 1 member
The UNA Board has no a priori objection to zoning rules for the family housing areas. We believe that development controls are essential and, if fact, we believe we have them today through the MOU (an agreement between UBC and Metro Vancouver), the OCP (a Metro Vancouver Bylaw) and the various Neighbourhood Plans. And so, we are happy to participate in discussions with Metro Vancouver on this topic, but not as part of a committee where we are a minority. No municipality would permit zoning rules affecting its residents to be decided by anyone other than its electors. The Board feels strongly that this standard must also be applied to us. Exclusive of all these other groups, we are the ones who will live with the consequences of these decisions, including the social and economic costs (and benefits) that arise from them.
Therefore, the UNA Board today informed the Metro Vancouver Electoral Area A Committee, meeting at Metro offices in Burnaby, that the UNA will participate in the working group provided that two necessary preconditions are met:
  1. the composition of the working group must include a majority of UNA residents selected by the elected UNA Board;
  2. neither the working group nor any other committee of the GVRD will forward a report to the GVRD concerning the development of any bylaw affecting the residential areas without the support of a majority of the residents on the working committee.
Click here for the full text of our presentation to the committee.

In the coming days we will be working to develop a web page that gathers together relevant information, we will be meeting with Metro Vancouver to see how they can meet our preconditions, and we will be exploring ways that we can consult with you on this important topic and the other governance concerns attached to it.

In the meantime, please share your thoughts, questions and concerns with us by replying to this email or calling the UNA office 604-827-5158. You can also email me directly or call me 778-889-4299.

We will keep you posted as this develops.


Mike Feeley
UNA Chair

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