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

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