Issue of the Day: Governance

Who governs UBC? Right now it’s a complicated balance between the University’s BoG, and the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD). In short, UBC’s BoG has the final say on development on campus, provided it conforms with various strategic plans (OCP, etc) that are the purview of the GVRD.

However, what happens when there’s a conflict? What happens when UBC thinks development conforms, while the GVRD doesn’t? (See the Marine Drive Residences, for an example.) In these situations, the governance conundrum is apparent. Who ought to have the final say in how UBC’s property is developed? UBC? GVRD? Students? Vancouver? Right now, nobody really knows.

There are four generally considered options:

  1. Status quo. UBC autonomy, with some GVRD oversight, to ensure compliance.
  2. UBC joins the GVRD, and all development must be approved directly by the GVRD permit board, like any other development.
  3. UBC forms its own municipality, with a municipal governance structure all its own and separate from GVRD/Vancouver
  4. No municipal gov’t controls on UBC whatsoever

In addition, there is a movement to amend the BoG composition. Some argue there should be more student seats, though, that might not be the most sturdy basket in which to store all your eggs. And while BoG reform is important, the Governance Review is already happening, so where the candidates stand is important.

There are some very important questions inherent in the options.

  • Who votes? Residents, students, resident students?
  • How to reconcile the vastly different interests of students/non-students?
  • Who provides municipal services?
  • Which should be more powerful? An elected council, or BoG?
  • Should institutional (classrooms, student-only residences) and non-institutional development (condos) be treated differently?

So, once again, back to you. The AMS instigated a governance review, at the GVRD level, to consider this very question. So we leave it to you: which option is preferable? What should the AMS’ role be? Should there be a municipal government at UBC?

Where the candidates stand:
Darren Peets: A municipal government regime at UBC is a good idea.
Jeff Friedrich: Any governance regime must include students.
Brendon Goodmurphy: Hasn’t made up his mind, but is leaning towards a municipal structure at UBC.
Bruce Krayenhoff: Continue my predecessor’s work with the GVRD towards giving students a real say in development decisions.
Joel Koczwarski: The Provincial seats on the BOG should be chosen through an electoral process. The more democracy in the BOG the better. And proportional rep for students.
Tom Masterson: Equal rep in proportion to the amount to which we fund the University.
Matthew Naylor: Lobby to ensure that the appointed BoG reps have student interests in mind.


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