What is The University Community on Campus – UBC’s Housing Action Plan?

The University Community on Campus – UBC’s Housing Action Plan is a comprehensive plan to improve affordability and choice on the Vancouver campus for faculty, staff and students. The Plan will support the long-term development of a thriving, diverse and sustainable community on the Point Grey campus – the kind of community that can help us attract and retain academic leaders who are critical to UBC’s continued teaching and research excellence.

The Community Planning Task Group of the UBC Board of Governors, chaired by Dr. Nassif Ghoussoub, led the process of developing this Plan for the Vancouver campus.

How will this plan support UBC’s academic mission?

Because UBC is competing with universities from across North America for faculty, this plan will help ensure we can continue to recruit the high caliber of faculty necessary to be a globally significant university.  And because we recruit our staff locally, providing restricted rental options across the spectrum makes us a leader in employment and housing policy. For students, it will support the student experience through an increased supply of housing, community building programs and an advocacy program to increase the student loan shelter allocation.

How will this plan support UBC’s goal of building a sustainable community?

A key element of UBC’s community development plan is to encourage faculty and staff to live close to where they work – which is one of the most important contributions an individual can make to reduce her/his GHG footprint. This plan will ensure a significant number of our faculty and staff can live on campus.  It will also encourage the development of diverse neighbourhoods with a mix of housing types and tenures.  

Why is UBC building a residential community on campus?

UBC’s Vancouver campus is transforming from what was historically a commuter campus into a vibrant, sustainable, live-work-learn community.  Innovative, sustainable community development and green building design are creating an emerging ecocity where jobs, shops, services, parks and public transportation are all within walking distance. And by building a residential community on campus, we have generated $307 million for the endowment. 

Part of the University’s community development plan is to encourage faculty, staff and students to live on campus, close to where they work or study. Living close to where you work or study is one of the most important contributions an individual can make to reducing their GHG footprint.

What does UBC do with the money it generates from building a community on campus?

Creating a community on campus generates net revenues (total land revenues minus development costs such as neighbourhood servicing) that are placed in the endowment.  The income from the endowment funds scholarships, bursaries, research and academic facilities. And in 2011, the Board of Governors approved the creation of the Student Housing Financing Endowment (SHFE). All net revenues are now placed into the SHFE, which will finance future student housing projects, such as the Ponderosa Hub which will create 1,100 new beds by 2015.

Why does UBC lease and rent to people who are not affiliated with the University?

Having non-affiliated residents encourages diversity, bringing a variety of perspectives and experiences to the on-campus residential community.  Such diversity among the on-campus residents expands the social fabric of the community, allows people to remain part of the community even if their employment changes, and ensures UBC can maintain the year-round population necessary to add vibrancy and support the services and amenities found within a thriving ecocity. Without non-affiliated residents, UBC would not have enough population to support the shops and services that faculty, staff, students and residents have said would make UBC a complete community. 

Where will new housing be built?

Most of the planned student housing will be developed within the five academic mixed-use centres called “commons” within the academic core of the university.  New housing for faculty and staff will continue to be focused primarily in Wesbrook Place for the next 10-15 years.  

What size of unit is UBC building in residential neighbourhoods?

The mix of new units for non-student housing would include studios, and one to three bedroom and den units in a range of sizes between 400 and 1800 sq ft.

What are the potential taxable benefit implications for UBC faculty and staff with non-market housing?

While the restrictions placed on the restricted rental and ownership options create a highly restricted market with related lower prices, the final decisions on any taxable benefit implications are made by the Canada Revenue Agency. Should that Agency conclude that the restricted market and related reduced prices are taxable benefits, this would have taxation consequences for faculty and staff.

The University does not provide tax advice and strongly encourages faculty and staff to retain independent advice to fully understand taxable benefit implications in their particular situation, as any taxable benefits would be the responsibility of the employee.

For more information on taxable benefits, please refer to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Employer’s Guide to Taxable Benefits & Allowances (http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/tg/t4130/).

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

UBC Board of Governors
Community Planning Task Group
6328 Memorial Road, Room 121,
Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z2, Canada
Tel: 604.822.2127

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