About UTown@UBC

The vision for UTown@UBC began many years ago, when in 1908, the Minister of Education envisioned "a small city...capable of being made one of the most interesting and beautiful in the world." Over a century later, this vision has become a reality with UBC's stunning transformation from commuter campus to complete, sustainable campus community. This incredible growth has been supported by the development of UTown@UBC.

UBC's Strategic plan, Place and Promise, outlines the university's commitment to exploring and exemplifying the three pillars of sustainability —social, economic and environmental— and commits all aspects of the university to this goal. UTown@UBC is no exception, incorporating innovative green building techniques, promoting community-building amongst residents and contributing financially to the UBC Endowment.

Role of the UNA and UBC

The University Neighbourhood Association (UNA) was established in 2002, and is responsible for much of the community infrastructure that supports the five neighbourhoods in the UTown@UBC Community.

In collaboration with Campus and Community Planning and other campus departments, the UNA helps provide a range of municipal-like services for residents, to give them access to the same range and quality of services available to residents of other Metro Vancouver municipalities. These services include managing the beloved Old Barn Community Centre, Wesbrook Community Centre, and recreation programs, hosting communitiy events such as the annual Neighbours Day, and Lunar New Year, and providing necessary services like landscaping and waste management. The UNA also plays the important role of hearing residents’ concerns, opinions and views to help shape the future development and allocation of community facilities at UBC.

The UNA is incorporated under British Columbia's Society Act and is managed by a board, comprised of eight members:

  • Five directors elected by residents
  • Two directors appointed by UBC
  • One director appointed by the Alma Mater Society

The number of elected directors is determined by neighbourhood population;  as UTown@UBC grows, so will representation on the board.

Becoming a UNA member is a great way to get involved in the community! Anyone 18 or older who lives in a UNA neighbourhood, is eligible to become a UNA member, by submitting an application form. Membership is free and gives residents the right to run and vote in UNA elections.

UNA residents are also eligible for the UNA Community Services Card, which provides members with free access to the Vancouver Public Library and free or preferential-rate access to many cultural and recreational facilities on campus.

To learn more about UNA responsibilities or to download a UNA membership application form, visit the University Neighbourhoods Association website.

Property Taxes

Homeowners are required to pay a Rural Property Tax to the Province of BC and a Services Levy to UBC. The combined fees are comparable to the property taxes paid by Metro Vancouver municipal residents.  Administered by the University Neighbourhoods Association, the Services Levy is collected and deposited into the Neighbour’s Fund, which funds the UNA Operating Budget and municipal-like services such as street maintenance and community infrastructure improvements.

The Services Levy cover the current calendar year (January to December), and is invoiced in June and due the first week of July.

For more information about the UBC Services Levy, visit UBC Finance to search for your property information and access answers to FAQs.

To learn more about the Rural Property Tax, visit the Province of BC website.

Utilities at UTown@UBC

With a community that is continuing to grow each year, UTown@UBC has developed strong infrastructure to ensure that residents have the utilities and services they need! Providing utilities takes a bit of team work, and is a joint effort between several different organizations.

Engineering Services at UBC is responsible for administering public works such as water, electricity, gas, sanitary water and storm water. Under Engineering Services, UBC Utilities provides operations of these utilities.

Safe, high-quality water for UBC is supplied through the Greater Vancouver Water District from a Metro Vancouver water main along 16th Avenue, ending at Blanca, where it becomes the responsibility of the University Endowment Lands (UEL) who distributes and sells it to UBC. UBC Utilities then provides water to the UTown@UBC community, including the UNA neighbourhood residences.

For more information on utilities for the UNA Neighbourhoods, please visit the UNA Website.

If you are living in student housing, please visit the UBC Student and Hospitality Servicea website for more information.

For more information about the UBC Municipal Support Services, please visit the UBC Building Operations Website.

Emergency Services

In many ways, UTown@UBC operates similarly to a municipality; UBC is part of Electoral Area A, therefore emergency services that are provided to the community are different from those offered in the City of Vancovuer.

The Vancouver Fire Department provides services to UBC under a contract with the Province of British Columbia that covers both the UEL and UBC, while ambulatory services are provided to UTown@UBC by BC Ambulance, as they are for the entire province of British Columbia. Unlike Metro Vancouver, which is policed by the Vancouver Police Department, the RCMP University detachment is responsible for policing at UBC due to the university's Provincial Crown Land status.

The UBC Hospital at Koerner Pavillion offers specialized treatment for non-life threatening emergencies, as well as a range of diagnostic services and testing. it is linked to emergency departments at Vancouver General Hospital and other acute care hospitals across the region.