Years of consultations and debate on Gage South culminated in a public hearing with only two speakers.
On April 26, UBC held a public hearing confirming Gage South’s academic designation and finalizing the location of the new Aquatic Centre and bus loop by amending the UBC Land Use Plan.
A new amendment to the land use plan also enables Campus + Community Planning (CCP) to transfer market housing density originally proposed for the UBC Farm to Acadia East and Stadium Road.
UNA resident Claire Robson voiced opposition to the density transfers, which would allow CCP to build the maximum amount of market housing density possible in Acadia East and Stadium Road, or else transfer it elsewhere on campus at a later date.
“We feel that there’s insufficient justification for building to the maximum…and we question whether the goal of 25,000 residents on the UBC peninsula is a) sustainable and b) reasonable,” said Robson. “We believe that future generations will ask why this happened.
“It’s just inconceivable to us that this is going along.”
UBC Insiders editor Neal Yonson, who opposed density transfers and submitted a petition with over 20,000 signatures to keep Gage South zoned as academic, also spoke at the hearing.
While Yonson congratulated CCP for making the right choice on the designation of Gage South, he questioned the density transfers.
Yonson noted that students have criticized the concept of density transfers from the beginning and is unsure why CCP insists that the density “will be transferred,” when original language had been changed to “may be transferred” after student opposition.
“Criticism from students about the density clause isn’t recent, it’s actually historic,” said Yonson.
The hearing finished in less than an hour, with only two speakers, and one question on the location of the bus loop. Sixteen people were in attendance.
Those who were unable to attend were able to submit emails or letters to be included in the public hearing. CCP received 16 submissions. Fourteen were in regards to the bus loop.
“I read the comments submitted from students and faculty. I think they were based on lack of information,” said UNA Board Chair Prod Laquian.
“Maybe CCP needs to do a bit more communicating with students.”
CCP have defended the amendment, saying the density transfers were always a part of the process and any conversion of academic land for market housing would have to go through another amendment process.
The Land Use Plan qmendments will be finalized at the June 12 Board of Governors meeting.