To the editor:
Re: "UBC employee decries campus treecutting," May 4.
I would like to clarify a few points made in this article. The trees at the centre of the story are being removed so we can build the new Student Union Building (SUB). This has nothing to do with housing development or the governance of UBC's Point Grey campus-and everything to do with creating a vibrant, liveable and sustainable campus environment.
The new SUB is a student-initiated project, done in collaboration with the university. The project included extensive planning and community consultations that go back to 2007. One of UBC's main objectives is to improve the experience of our students, and the new SUB and its surrounding outdoor area are to be social heart of the campus.
Landscape design has been a priority since the outset of the SUB project, and as with all other construction on campus, every effort is made to preserve trees and animal habitat. The new SUB will result in vast improvements to the campus landscape.
Land use and development on the UBC Vancouver campus are tightly controlled. Development must comply with the UBC Land Use Plan, and with systematic planning and building approval processes. Public community consultations are mandatory, and ultimately, the UBC Board of Governors has the final word on any project. Any change to the UBC Land Use Plan has to go through approval from the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development. This can hardly be described as "carte blanche."
Finally, your readers need to know that it is the B.C. government, and not Metro Vancouver, that oversees governance of UBC's Point Grey campus. This was an arrangement worked out jointly between UBC, Metro Vancouver and the provincial government in 2010.
Joe Stott, Director of Planning, UBC