Public consultation was an integral part of the development of the The University Community on Campus – UBC’s Housing Action Plan and there were numerous opportunities for the campus community to provide their input throughout the planning process. These opportunities included workshops, public forums, online discussion, focus groups and outreach meetings.

Public consultation was focused on creating opportunities for dialogue around the issues and challenges of university sponsored affordable housing and took place in two phases:

  • Consultation on issues and options: April 2011 – March 19th, 2012 included public forums, online discussion, focus groups and stakeholder meetings;
  • Consultation on the UBC Housing Action Plan Discussion Paper (March 20th, 2012 – April 9th, 2012).

Over 224,000 contacts were notified of opportunities to participate in public consultation through advertising, in-person meetings and outreach activities, and 104 communications e-toolkits were emailed to campus stakeholders. As a result of these outreach activities, there were:

  • 418 feedback forms and online questionnaires submitted throughout the process
  • 367 attendees who participated in public forums, workshops and focus groups
  • 121 online comments posted to the discussion on the Board of Governors website and 3 to the PlaceSpeak discussion boards
  • 16 letter submissions received
  • 2,539 unique page views to the housing action plan web pages
  • Over 1,100 views of the housing action plan video posted to YouTube

The feedback received from faculty, staff and students throughout the planning process was valuable in informing the development of housing program options that appear in the Plan. Here is a summary of what we heard and how we responded to that feedback in the Plan, and if not why.

What We Heard Our Response
Retention and recruitment of faculty is an important issue for faculty, staff and students. 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 makes us a leader in employment and housing policy. The Plan also continues to support the student experience through new housing and advocacy programs.
Support for the restricted sale/resale and capped appreciation option as well as for joint ownership A new restricted home ownership program is being introduced for tenure and tenure-track faculty.  Joint ownership has not been pursued because research determined that banks were unlikely to provide mortgages under this model.
Support for linking housing appreciation to an index of faculty salaries rather than to the housing market in the capped appreciation model. In the restricted home ownership program for tenure and tenure-track faculty, it is anticipated that the purchase price would be 33% below benchmark housing prices, and resale prices indexed to faculty salaries to a maximum 33% below benchmark.
Support for extending eligibility for the Financial Assistance Program from 7 to 10 years.  There was an even split between those who support and those who oppose restricting the Financial Assistance Program to on-campus housing. Eligibility for the Financial Assistance Program has been extended to 10 years.  In order to maintain the flexibility of the program for recruitment and retention purposes, no geographic restrictions to the program are being proposed at this time.
Support for non-profit housing options and co-operative housing. A pilot project of up to 100 units of non-profit housing targeted at staff with annual household incomes of $64,000 or less has been introduced in the Plan.  Co-operative housing has not been pursued because of the challenges of implementing this program in the university context.  However, UBC will be exploring community building and ways it could be implemented in a variety of ways in the built form and community programming aimed at enhancing community cohesion within medium and higher density buildings.
Staff also expressed that they wanted to be given access to housing ownership. Faculty are recruited globally and UBC is competing for faculty with universities in more affordable housing markets or who have housing programs. Unlike with faculty, UBC recruits its staff locally. Providing restricted rental housing is a demonstration of UBC’s commitment to addressing issues of housing affordability for staff and makes us one of the only employers in the region to offer this type of program.  Restricted rental housing will only be available to faculty, staff and post-doctoral fellows. Rents will reflect the costs and expenses and are anticipated to be  approximately 25% below average rental rates charged for unrestricted housing on Vancouver’s west side.
Conflicting data regarding whether faculty and staff want to build equity or if they are truly content with having a stable place to live, regardless of whether they build equity or not. To address the wide variety of faculty preferences and family situations, the Plan provides both rental and ownership options for tenure and tenure-track faculty.
Opposition to requiring the spouses of faculty who own faculty housing on campus to relocate within a year if the faculty member dies.  Support for prohibiting children and non-UBC affiliated family members from inheriting faculty housing if the faculty member dies, as well as requiring faculty to relocate (within a reasonable timeframe) if they lose their job and live in faculty housing, rental. As part of implementation of the Plan, policies addressing occupancy requirements, sub-leasing, faculty retirements and deaths, and inheritance restrictions will be determined with direct input from each faculty. 
Students support the direction of student housing on campus; however, they continue to be concerned about the cost of student housing.  Students supported a UBC advocacy strategy in principle to address the student loan shelter allowance but only moderately supported it as a top priority for the University where student housing affordability is concerned.  Students were not in support of paying more for a one or two-bedroom unit over the cost of a quad.  To help address housing affordability concerns for students, the University will continue to increase on-campus dedicated student housing supply, will continue to limit rental rates based on a self-supporting, fully cost-recovery basis, and will  continue to operate in a fiscally responsible fashion to ensure rates are maintained at or below market rental rates.  The Plan reaffirms UBC’s commitment in the Vancouver Campus Plan to create the physical capacity to build enough student housing for 50% of the 2010 full-time student population, approximately 16,000 beds.  UBC is also creating an advocacy strategy to increase the shelter allowance in the student loan program. 

 A copy of the Housing Action Plan Public Consultation Summary is available on the Reference Documents section of this website.

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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