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VANCOUVER - The UBC community deserves an elected and accountable governance system that is integrated into the City of Vancouver. That is a key recommendation of CUPE Local 116 to a GVRD (Greater Vancouver Regional District)/UBC Joint Committee.

CUPE 116, which represents maintenance, trades, food services, security and custodial staff at UBC, made a presentation on October 4 to the Joint Committee seeking input on governance and other issues for the UBC community.

Speaking on behalf of CUPE 116, president Colleen Garbe said that without elected municipal representation, UBC lacks a forum in which to process conflicts openly and with community accountability.

“At this point in the debate around the future of UBC governance, and in particular given the rapid pace of non-institutional development at UBC, we believe that incorporation into the City of Vancouver is the best option. It would offer maximum opportunity for students, residents, workers, community groups and others on campus to have authentic political input into university governance and broader community development,” said Garbe.

Garbe noted that concerns about a lack of accountability and the need for governance reform are exacerbated by conflicts inherent in UBC’s twin role as development partner and development regulator.

CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill strongly supports CUPE 116 participation in the process involving UBC and the GVRD. “There is currently no adequate way to resolve the growing conflict between UBC’s academic core and its residential and commercial core,” said O’Neill.

UBC’s integration into the City of Vancouver would not only bring greater political accountability, it would help put the campus on track to meet the goals and objectives of safeguarding UBC’s physical assets and maintaining a sustainable campus community into the future.”

It appears there will be more deliberations as the Joint Committee passed a motion for the GVRD Board of Directors to request the provincial government initiate a dialogue on an alternate governance system with the GVRD, UBC, the University Endowment Lands and the City of Vancouver.

O’Neill said that CUPE will be working with its UBC members to ensure the dialogue includes students, community groups, unions and all others who have a stake in the future development of the province’s largest university community.