The University of British Columbia had an ambitious plan in the 1990s. This plan was to create a dynamic and sustainable community where families, UBC faculty, staff and students would have opportunities to maintain healthy and happy lives in this unique university environment. In 2002, the University Neighbourhoods Association, or UNA, was born. Its goal is to provide municipal-like services to residents and to support the growth and sustainability of the community.
Incorporated under the British Columbia Society Act, the UNA oversees 5 local neighbourhoods around UBC’s campus: Chancellor Place, East Campus, Hampton Place, Hawthorn Place, and Wesbrook Place. It is governed by a Board of Directors dedicated to representing the needs and interests of local residents. Jim Taylor, after whom Jim Taylor Park is named, served as the Board’s first elected chair, with Brian Collins as the first elected Board member.
One of the top priorities and guiding principles of the UNA has been meaningful community engagement. Throughout the past 14 years, the UNA has partnered with scores of organizations and community groups that facilitate dialogue and engagement with residents. The UNA represents over 9,000 residents, and the communities continue to grow each day. Since 2010, the UNA has been keeping people informed and engaged by publishing The Campus Resident Newspaper. It is a valuable community resource and the first reference that residents turn to for community information.
In 2007, the UNA opened the doors to The Old Barn Community Centre. A quaint and welcoming space, it is open to everyone for quality programming, recreation, and leisure. Every year since its grand opening, the UNA has hosted the Annual Barn Raising, a celebration to mark its birthday. Dozens of other events are put by the UNA on each year, such as the Lunar New Year celebration and Family Movie Nights.
The UNA opened the Wesbrook Community Centre in 2015 to meet the recreational and cultural needs of the growing population in Wesbrook Place. A welcome addition to the UNA neighbourhood facilities and amenities, Wesbrook Community Centre offers a wide range of programming in its 30,000 sq ft , state-of-the-art building. With these two centres, residents as well as the general public can become involved in sports, music, art, dance, yoga, and social programs that will enrich their lives.
The UNA promotes health and sustainability within the community. We believe it is important to minimize the environmental impacts of our growing population and neighbourhoods. In addition to several year-round community initiatives that aim to inform residents about waste management and conservation, the new UNA Green Depot was created in Wesbrook Community Centre. This recycling depot has become a valued addition to the community and brings us closer to a sustainable future.
The UNA is a valuable asset to the neighbourhoods on the UBC campus. It continues to listen and respond to the interests of residents, while promoting healthy, active, and sustainable living for all. For an in-depth look at the accomplishments and developments of the UNA, check out the Annual Reports section that highlights activities year-by-year from 2003 to present day.