Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Storm is Brewing!

There is a growing wind for change blowing through the university town.  Recently a new resident's association, OUR, formed.  OUR's objective is to advocate on behalf of local residents and to make certain that our local governance becomes a real democratic government.

OUR's Mission.

  1. Providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and dissemination of information about the unique UBC residential community.
  2. Promoting and representing the interests of residents in decisions and actions affecting the community, including all campus plans in residential areas and other areas of campus affecting residents.
  3. Seeking full democratic representation for residents on community issues with UBC, UNA, other municipal government agencies, the Provincial Government and other government agencies. 
  4. Encouraging residents to become more engaged in local government, planning and development, community affairs and related municipal matters.
I've been a long time resident of the University Town, was a member of the original advisory committee that planned the Old Barn Community Centre, was the chair of the UNA Schools Action Committee, and was a Hawthorn Place Resident member on the parking advisory committee.

I'm now planning to take my involvement one step further and will be putting my name forward to run in the upcoming UNA Board election.  

From the very start I have found the imposition of appointed board members in the UNA to be a form of paternalism of the worst sort.  Where else in the democratic world, outside of archaic appointments of privilege,  does one find appointed politicians who can exert so much power?  The time for change is now.

The lack of real, effective, local government has many serious consequences for residents living in the University Town.  One very crucial one is that during the campaign to ensure that our children had proper schools we found it hard to get a real hearing from any of the levels of government.   The regional and provincial governments would only speak with UBC who did not adequate represent community interests, placing their interest in increasing real estate development profits and housing density above the concerns of local residents and families.  One of the results has been overcrowding of our local schools, busing of our children, and ultimately new schools that won't be able to accommodate all of our children.  Appointed university representatives are bound to represent their employer, UBC.  They don't represent residents and the proof is in the way in which UNA policies have been shaped over the years.

The UNA election rules are posted on the UNA website and are reprinted below exactly as they are on the website as of July 7, 2012.

UNA Election Rules

The UNA election is held every year to elect the resident directors on the UNA Board.  Unless otherwise stated, the annual election is for two resident directors for a two year term each.

Voter Information

All UNA members are eligible to vote at the annual election. Apply for UNA membership. Voting details will come as the election date is selected by the Board.

Running for Election

All UNA members can stand for election.  A call for nomination will be announced prior to the election.  10 nominees are required for each candidate. Nomination details will come as the election date is selected by the Board.

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