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November 5, 2018

Proposal for new UBC real estate development draws community opposition

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The University of B.C. campus has been transformed in recent decades by clusters of mostly market condos and townhomes, along with retail space and thousands of new residents.

By providing land to real estate developers, on 99-year leases, the university has been able to significantly increase its endowment fund.

Now, there is a proposal to develop another major campus neighbourhood known as Stadium Road.

Even though some are in favour of increasing the supply of on-campus housing, especially for staff and faculty, the proposal is rankling other residents because it includes four or five much-taller condo towers and density that is almost double the allowances in a land-use plan approved by the province in 2010.

Elsewhere on campus, condo towers have been no taller than 20 storeys, with many at about four or five storeys, said Murray McCutcheon, a resident in the area. The towers being proposed for Stadium Road are up to 36 storeys.

McCutcheon and hundreds of others have signed a petition demanding that the development conform to the existing land-use plan. Developers are seeking more generous allowances and provincial approval by next February.

“We’re not opposed to development, and not asking to not develop this land,” said McCutcheon. “We are asking to respect the land-use plan and to have more objectives in mind than only economic ones.”

“The development cannot be used to fund a new stadium, faculty or staff housing, contribute to the endowment and potentially the extension of rapid transit to UBC,” said McCutcheon.

The plan proposes a split of 40 per cent rental housing for university staff and faculty and 60 per cent market-rate condos.

McCutcheon and others are calling for the new development to give greater priority to faculty and staff housing and to consider concerns about the lack of schools and community centres.

Keep reading in the Vancouver Sun


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