The Vancouver Observer released a fantastic article over a month ago regarding life in the UBC area. The thesis of the piece stated that the days of old, where UBC was perceived as strictly a post-secondary community with little to offer outside of typical university grounds amenities, are gone. To put proof in the pudding the author referenced not only initiatives under the UBC Board of Governors, but consulted the opinions of local families and professionals, among them yours truly. I was beyond proud to be referenced in the article so that I could weigh in on the growing community of UBC.
I thought the article offered a succinct look at the state of UBC and its collection of neighborhoods. In its non-bias assessment of the growth of UBC, the article didn’t simply touch solely on the positive feelings held by residents.
Sure, it heralded the family friendly scene at Wesbrook Village for its playgrounds and now convenient access to retail (grocery, boutique shopping, etc…). It could not neglect to detail the post-secondary, secondary, and elementary educational system within. Yes, it mentioned the new coffee shops and cafes that once could only be found by trekking further into Point Grey. It would also have been an injustice if didn’t touch on the peninsula’s near proximity to some of the most beautiful natural offerings Greater Vancouver holds in its bosom – both green rainforests and expansive sandy beaches. But the article looked at the other side of the coin as well.
When someone lives in a quintessentially quaint community such as found within UBC, resistance to change can be found. A current PhD student resident within the article expresses concern for the community that she has lived in for many years now. She pondered comparisons to a future “Disneyland” in the making, but such statements in fact speak to how great a community is – you don’t mess with perfection, right?
But the UBC Board of Governors and their UBC Properties Trust and the UBC Neighborhoods Association initiatives are making sure that the historical allure of UBC as a student and family friendly community is kept well intact. With every new building foundation greenspace is protected and even added. No retail is put in place without fulfilling a need demanded by current and prospective residents. Outdoor (softball fields, etc…) and indoor (a new community centre) recreation is a large priority of the recent growth plan, ensuring an active and healthy community. All of the above and more is being accomplished while protecting the existing personality of UBC.
Disneyland in the making? Nope, just UBC as it always has been, only more of it.