UBC to relocate basketball court on site of proposed hydrogen fuel centre

Following community concern in March, UBC will be relocating a campus basketball court currently on the site of the university’s proposed hydrogen fuel centre.

In February, UBC Campus & Community Planning began work to build a hydrogen generating and refueling station adjacent to Thunderbird Parkade and the skate park.

However, a popular basketball court occupied part of the space, resulting in uproar from local residents and the University Neighbourhoods Association (UNA) over the court’s significance. At the time, UBC committed to working with the UNA to find an appropriate location for the replacement court.

“We will be ensuring that construction of the hydrogen station will not commence until a relocation court is in place … and we are committing that there will be no disruption to access of the courts,” said Grant Miller, director of planning and development services at UBC.

Earlier this month, UBC submitted an application for the new basketball court to be built in a nearby parking lot at the corner of Thunderbird Boulevard and Health Sciences Mall. Miller said the university has heard residents' concerns and has appropriately consulted with the UNA before submitting its new development permit application.

“With consideration of community feedback and consultation with the UNA, UBC staff recommended that a replacement court be developed on a portion of the TEF 3 parking lot …. UBC staff shared the recommendation and analysis with the UNA in advance of a Site Selection Committee meeting at which the site was approved,” said Miller in a statement to The Ubyssey.

Cary Wu, a UBC alumnus and York University assistant professor, was among the community members concerned that UBC was eliminating an important amenity. In March, Wu said that as an international student, he found community while playing at the basketball court during his PhD. Wu also said the Thunderbird court is higher quality than others on campus.

“There are other courts on campus, like the one outside the Nest, but the floor is not really level, and because of that you see few play there,” he said.

However, Wu said that he is satisfied with UBC’s relocation plan and is glad planners heard their feedback.

“I think it is a great location for the relocation. It is very close to the old one, which means less damage to [the] local community and their established exercise routine. My hope is that the relocation process will go fast and as smooth[ly] as possible.”

Miller reiterated that UBC has committed to ensuring there is no disruption to court access, adding that the new court should be “available for use late this summer.”

As part of the development permit process, community members can provide feedback through the virtual open house on June 1 or public comment form on the UBC Planning website here.