City, UBC and MST Development Corporation sign historic agreement to help get SkyTrain to UBC

Kennedy Stewart Official photo

THE City of Vancouver, UBC and the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Development Corporation (MST-DC) are joining forces to advocate for the completion of a SkyTrain line all the way to UBC as soon as possible.

The unique partnership was struck late last year via a Memorandum of Understanding. The three organizations committed to jointly advocate for federal, provincial and regional support and funding for the extension of the Broadway Millennium Line beyond the currently planned terminus at Arbutus Street.

“This agreement sets a new example for how city-building in the 21st Century should work,” said Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “Building SkyTrain all the way to UBC is a regional priority that will not only help connect academic and health sciences along Broadway with the rest of the region, it will put Reconciliation into practice as we work in partnership with the MST Development Corporation.”

The City of Vancouver, MST-DC and UBC are neighbours and have a shared interest in working together to build vibrant and resilient communities that ensure Metro Vancouver continues to be a great place to live, learn, work and play. The three organizations are united in the pursuit of SkyTrain to UBC for its potential to achieve their shared aspirations of improved transit in the region, more affordable housing, better post-secondary accessibility, increased economic growth and reduced GHG emissions, according to a statement by the City of Vancouver.

It’s the first MOU in Canada that brings together an academic institution, a First Nations development corporation and a municipality to seek investment in major transit infrastructure.

“We are excited to join in partnership with our neighbours—the City of Vancouver and the University of British Columbia—and work together toward the shared vision of a SkyTrain line that connects the western edge of Metro Vancouver, specifically the Jericho lands that were shared by our ancestors, with the rest of the region,” said the leadership of the MST-DC.  “This MOU demonstrates a great opportunity to show how interested parties working together can find mutually beneficial solutions and opportunities that ensure everyone is able to thrive. Access to efficient, safe and affordable transit is crucial. MST-DC is excited to work with CLC, our Land partners in the Jericho Lands, as well as with the City and community to prepare the plan for Jericho. We look forward to developing our lands into inspiring, progressive and sustainable new neighbourhoods that benefit the community, region and members of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh.”  

The daytime population of UBC exceeds 80,000 people. It is one of the largest employment centres in all of BC. Of the 55,000 UBC students, faculty and staff who live off campus, about half of them pass through Vancouver on their way to work or school from other municipalities.

“I’m honoured to stand alongside leaders from the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations and Mayor Kennedy Stewart in this partnership, and I look forward to working collaboratively towards our shared vision: a rapid transit network that connects our communities to one another and to the Metro Vancouver region, cutting congestion, reducing commute times, improving access to more sustainable modes of transportation and expanding access to affordable housing options,” said Santa Ono, President and Vice Chancellor of UBC.

“Extending SkyTrain to UBC will make the campus more accessible to current and prospective students, faculty, staff and regional partners and it will enable us to enhance our teaching and research programs and deepen our community and industry engagement.”

It is critical to secure commitments and funding from federal and provincial partners to ensure that the project moves forward as quickly and as cost effectively as possible.  

This work will start with Stewart’s February visit to Ottawa where he’ll raise awareness with key decision makers for the MOU and the project. In the coming months the City of Vancouver, MST-DC and UBC will also take collective action to continue making the case for extending SkyTrain all the way to UBC as quickly as possible.

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