April 30, 2010

Legislation will advance UBC as a living lab for sustainability

University of British Columbia President Prof. Stephen Toope welcomed today's introduction of provincial legislation that supports the university's vision to become a living laboratory for sustainability.

Dr. Moira Stilwell, Minister of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development, noted the Province remains committed to UBC enjoying the best public land endowment of any university in North America. Legislation introduced today, she said, will ensure that lands set aside early in the 20th century to support B.C.'s first, and now largest, university will continue to advance UBC's 21st-century academic mission.

Today's legislation will transfer control of local land use planning for UBC's Vancouver campus from the Metro Vancouver regional government (GVRD) to the Province of B.C. The Minister of Community and Rural Development, in consultation with the Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development, will be the approving authority for the land use plan for the campus. This responds to the joint request from Metro Vancouver and the university that the provincial government propose a new land use planning regime.

"I commend the government for continuing the vision of a great university for all British Columbians which began with the initial land endowment of 1910," Toope said. "Today's legislation acknowledges that UBC has grown, with the province, to become one of the world's top universities, providing a transformative undergraduate education experience, globally important research, and significant economic, social and cultural capital for our province.

"We look forward to working with government and with our students, faculty, staff and residents in considering whether further changes are needed to carry out the civic functions of governance, planning and service delivery for UBC's Vancouver campus."

Toope noted that the new legislation would accelerate UBC's leadership in sustainability by further enabling a host of ongoing initiatives that support the province's goal to become one of the most sustainable economies in the world.

"A new pilot project to harness biomass for heat and electrical energy generation, construction of North America's most sustainable building for the new Centre for Interactive Research in Sustainability, as well as aggressive targets to reach zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, are just some of the clean and green initiatives underway. This legislation ensures this kind of innovation can continue well into the future, fulfilling the historic promise of UBC's land endowment," Toope said.