Thursday, May 31, 2007

Good news and bad news

The Board of Governors (BoG) met on May 22 to decide what to do about U-Blvd. About 20 students were there to witness it. So what do you want first, the good news or the bad news?

The Bad news: phase 1 has been approved. This means $15 million has been released for spending. And what will they do on their $15million shopping spree? Build an underground tunnel! They've approved construction to start this summer to build a tunnel under U-Blvd, to move the underground utilities over because they're in the way of the tunnel, and to re-do the road over-top of it. At this point it's a $15 million-tunnel-to-nowhere, because the bus loop hasn't been approved.

And that leads us to the good news! BoG was originally planning on approving the whole thing on May 22: the tunnel, the bus loop, the shopping mall, the apartments, pretty much the whole shebang, but they didn't! They've pushed it off to November at the earliest. This is a direct result of the petition, so give yourselves a Huge pat on the back for a job well done! The 2700 signatures, the AMS council and GSS council policies and letters supporting the petition have had their intended effect: to go back and consult students on what we want in this space! (The petition did say not to approve anything until the consultation is done, but their mistake has been made now). How can they start building part of the U-blvd development when they have no idea what the finished picture is going to look like? Anyways, President Toope said he was committed to go back and do meaningful consultation with students, giving us a blank slate to work with, so we can create something that we will want and will use and will feel owenership over.

So the next step will be consultation! You'll be having your say in what you want, not just signing a petition against what you don't want. Check back here for updates on where and when consultation events will take place. And start thinking about it: if you could have anything, what would you want the heart of your campus to look like? This campus will be created by students, for students! May 22 shows you that students have a very powerful voice, when we choose to speak.

(Photos from Hampton Journal and Vanvcouver Courier. See Press Articles links.)

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