UBC Farm—new threat or new respect?

Update, May 24: A new post on the UBC Farm Blog, “Bill 20 and the UBC Farm,” provides at least a little clarification—though not as much reason for confidence as we might like.

These Belted Galloways are on the UBC Farm.

 

The Friends of UBC Farm did a good job of encouraging widespread support when the UBC administration’s plans threatened the future of the farm. I signed the petition and identified with the efforts. 

Lately, incoming emails have been decrying the provincial government for a possible new threat to UBC Farm. That’s because UBC land-use planning has been transferred from Metro Vancouver to the Ministry of Community and Rural Development. Metro Vancouver, which previously had authority over UBC land-use planning, has been seen as a protector of UBC Farm. 

The possible threat is described in “UBC farm in imminent danger as Campbell government seizes governance of UBC.” 

The transfer is old news that goes back to late April with this editorialized Vancouver Sun article. The transfer is also described in this early-May article in The Ubyssey, the student newspaper. From a UBC-administration standpoint, it is an interim step in an “amicable divorce.” 

On May 13, UBC President Stephen Toope wrote in President’s Office

To respond directly to those who have raised concerns that legislation moving land use control from the Metro Vancouver regional government to the Province will imperil the UBC Farm, I must be crystal clear that the opposite is in fact the case. 

Having active farmland on the campus offers our region a globally unique opportunity to blend urban living with agricultural production. 

In December, the university’s Board of Governor’s enthusiastically received an academic plan, Cultivating Place, for protecting and enhancing the farm as a centerpiece of the South campus. Further, the farm is a vital part of the new UBC Sustainability Initiative, and a highly visible aspect of our campus as a living laboratory for sustainability. 

Zoning restrictions proposed by Metro in October 2009 would have made innovative funding, research, and campus planning impossible for the farm, as well as other areas of campus.  What the provincial legislation, Bill 20, ensures is that the university’s commitment to UBC Farm, as articulated by the Board of Governors in November 2008, will be honoured. 

Unfortunately, the UBC Farm Blog, which took a leading role in the seemingly successful “Save the UBC Farm” campaign in recent years, says nothing about the transfer. Silence is always hard to interpret. 

All of this leaves me not knowing what to think: Is the transfer of UBC-area land-use planning —including UBC Farm from a big-picture land-use perspective—an issue or a non-issue?

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1 Comment »

  1. […] UBC Farm.   Richmond’s Garden City Lands blog published a post last weekend titled, “UBC Farm – new threat or new respect?”.  The post highlights some of the recent media buzz regarding the UBC Farm and the Bill 20, […]


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