BoG goes ahead with tunnel, utilities.

In an embattled, but clear decision, the UBC board of governors passed final approval of the University Boulevard project’s first phase on Tuesday. Though the faculty, staff, and student representatives were opposed, President Toope remained staunchly in favor of the the phase, which ensures the future of an underground bus terminal on the site of East mall and U-Blvd. The terminal itself is was not approved – only the tunnel along U-blvd that will lead to it and the movement of utilities. Discussion about the issue lasted 45 minutes. It is rare that the board pushes a decision through while it has significant opposition – but for this project, the pressure is on.

Interestingly, since the above ground potion of the plan is being brought back to consultation and re-designed, the terminal itself may have to be re-engineered too, to carry the weight. Al Poettcker, the president of UBC properties trust, doesn’t seem to like this idea, since he continuously claims that only the “programming” of the buildings, not their location, can be changed. Perhaps he does not understand the level to which it is generally expected the plan will change following consultation: buildings could conceivably change their size, location, or be eliminated entirely.

The underground loop however, is coming. It won’t be approved until the above-ground plans are further solidified, in the fall.

Have a listen to Margaret Orlowski (of the anti- U-Blvd student petition) and Nancy Knight of the campus community and planning office face off with the CBC’s Rick Cluff on the Early Edition Wednesday:

Listen here


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