The following is a guest post by John Tompkins, editor and publisher of the Wesbrook Journal, former editor of the Hampton Journal, and resident of UBC. If you would like to submit a guest post, contact us.

Lack of local interest is cited; new thrust is to provide UBC more services

The City of Vancouver has lost interest in the idea of annexing UBC, at least for the time being.

The City has not lost interest in expanding the range of services it provides UBC, however. On the contrary, City Council in October voted in favor of starting a courtship which, if consummated, could eventually see—among other things—Vancouver City Police take over policing duties at UBC from the RCMP. (video)

The same marriage of municipal interests might also see Vancouver providing UBC residents with such important—but non-emergency—services as a noise abatement patrol (which they currently lack), a dog patrol (which they currently lack) and a more efficient system of administering local government elections every three years than the one they currently enjoy.

Vancouver already services UBC residents, either directly or through independent boards, with fire-fighting services, elementary and secondary schools (Vancouver School Board) and library services (Vancouver Public Library System).

The vote in favor of expanding the range of services to UBC residents but against further plans for the annexation of UBC follows the filing of a City Hall report by Community Services Manager Dave McLellan who concludes that “proceeding with this (annexation) initiative and an (accompanying) consultant feasibility study should be deferred until there is a stronger interest shown by UBC, the Residents Association and the University Endowment Lands (UEL).”

Mr. McLellan and City staff focused on both the social and financial implications of studying a UBC/Vancouver merger in preparing this report. Financially, a full-scale study of the merger possibilities would cost Vancouver up to $850,000, Mr. McLellan says in his report to council. Socially, those living or working in Vancouver or that portion of Electoral Area A more commonly referred to as UBC and the UEL may already consider themselves “part of the same community.”

The October 6th vote to defer further interest in UBC annexation by this Vision Vancouver-dominated City Council reverses council policy of 18 months earlier. Mr. McLellan recalls in his report that on April 15, 2008, when council was dominated by the NPA faction, the City voted to “welcome discussions regarding the joining of UBC and Vancouver.” Suzanne Anton, the only NPA member of council to participate in both votes, said in a telephone call, “UBC needs a mayor. UBC is a wonderful institution, but it needs a mayor, a champion.”

Nonetheless, Ms. Anton—a graduate of UBC law school—voted to defer interest in further studying annexation at this time in light of the McLellan report. Council voted unanimously in favor of a share-more-services motion drafted much along the lines recommended by Mr. McLellan.


3 Comments so far

  1. Lin on November 3, 2009 11:20 am

    Vancouver Public Library services are not actually currently available to all UBC residents: “Persons living on the University Endowment Lands (UEL) and at UBC must pay a non-resident fee to obtain a Subscription card as these regions are not incorporated into any municipality.” The subscription card fees are between $17-$35 for 182 days.

    Only if you live in Acadia Park, Hampton Place, Hawthorn Place, or Chancellor Place, can you can get the fee waived (upon showing Community Services Cards).

  2. Charles Menzies on November 16, 2009 8:54 am

    Dear Neighbours,

    Many of us will have received the email sent from UBC regarding the Metro Vancouver Bylaws for UBC. I have posted the email and my comments on it at the following link:

    The university has focused on the issue of academic freedom and suggests that having the Metro zoning bylaw will impede our capacity to conduct our academic mission. Metro’s bylaw will add an entire layer or bureaucracy and
    cost that ultimately makes it more difficult to bring about a local democratic result. Academic freedom issues aside, the imposition of a zoning bylaw is a serious concern – here we have a group of people who have no direct connection to our community imposing rules and regulations upon us without having ever involved us in the process. It’s the worst sort of administrative authoritarianism.

    The very fact that a group of politicians and appointees who have no direct involvement in our community can make changes on us without consulting or considering our voices is a sad state of affairs. Why aren’t they working on the things that will make a difference -bringing real, effective, local democracy to our community?

    I applaud the hard work that our elected representatives on the UNA make toward administrating our community in an effective manner. As neighbours and friends I know how hard they work to effectively represent our community in the face of some serious structural and democratic deficits. However, they still remain, even in the aftermath of recent provincial legislation, the administrators of delegated authority from UBC’s Board of Governors.

    The current conflict over zoning demonstrates the need for real local authority and full democratic rule by our community for our community.

    If you want a chance to see and hear the Metro reps state their case there is a meeting of the UBC/GVRD Joint Committee next week.

    5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
    Nov 25, 2009
    Main Floor Auditorium, Asian Centre, 1871 West Mall, University of British
    Columbia, Vancouver BC

    It’s a public meeting, mostly (GVRD Committees tend to go in camera at a very high rate -yet another curious ‘democratic’ practice). If people wish to speak to the committee they have to contact the GVRD.


    Charles Menzies
    Hawthorn Place Resident

  3. Charles Menzies on November 19, 2009 6:52 am

    A correction on the meeting location for the Joint UBC/GVRD meeting.

    It will now be held in the Michael Smith Lab Bulding, beside the bookstore on campus.

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