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UBC Reports | Vol. 49 | No. 12 | Dec. 4, 2003


Dear Editor:

Ed. Note: The following letter concerning an article entitled “University Town Continues to Grow” from UBC Reports Oct. 2, 2003 has been edited for length.

I don’t think that any of us living in the faculty / staff corner of Hawthorn Place (near the intersection of Thunderbird and West Mall) are opposed to “including people from other parts of the community.” If Dr. Pavlich really believes this, then he is very mistaken. If, however, he is engaged in his own form of political rhetoric he is doing a disservice to faculty who have made a commitment to live on campus and reduce the environmental impact of this university.

I would suspect that there are few who would really challenge the difficulties of accessing the local housing market for incoming faculty. For example, the least expensive family-size-housing unit being provided in Hawthorn Lane that is targeted at faculty and staff would require a household income of at least $110,000 per year. That is far above the starting salary for most faculty in arts and reasonably higher than starting salaries in most other faculties. Of course, whether or not an employer should be concerned about the housing needs of its employees is a separate question altogether.

One of the stated reasons (both publicly and in published documents) of creating a ‘university town,’ is to reduce the impact of commuter traffic. The GVRD has been insistent that UBC take responsibility for the massive volume of single occupant cars commuting out to UBC every morning and returning home every evening. However, with housing priced out of the reach of most faculty and staff the people who are able to purchase housing here are far more likely to be single car commuting off campus, not just to work but also for shopping etc. One might also add that under the current conditions the near campus commuting will likely increase as children are ferried to and from school, short trips out for shopping or entertainment in the evening are organized by the growing on-campus community.

And finally, Dr. Pavlich says, with what one might imagine as some exasperation “we’re not creating a monastery here.” How true. Dr. Pavlich and his compatriots are creating another modernist suburb designed in a way that will make it hard to tell whether one is standing in a development on Point Grey, Steveston, Maple Ridge, North Vancouver or anywhere else that developers are in charge. What might actually contribute to a richer learning, academic, and research environment -- in terms of innovative and environmentally friendly building design and grounds maintenance -- has been ignored in the race to fit things into the bottom line.

Charles Menzies
Hawthorn Lane resident

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Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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