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Frequently Asked Questions:

Why is UFV launching a property trust?

The property trust’s mandate and goals are to:

  • enhance campus life and the educational experience at UFV by creating a wider variety of amenities and housing options in pedestrian-friendly neighbourhoods integrated with each campus,
  • establish new sources of funding for UFV, including ongoing recurring revenue sources. This funding will support UFV in achieving its key strategic goals,
  • broaden accommodation/housing options for students, faculty and staff,
  • ensure long-term sustainable ownership of lands by UFV,
  • re-purpose under-utilized land assets,
  • ensure UFV controls the development form and character of projects on the lands near the university through use of design guidelines,
  • augment UFV team core competency in development and capital planning, and
  • support UFV’s mission statement of “engaging learners, transforming lives, building community”

Why is UFV doing this instead of building new buildings on campus for classrooms and student facilities?

The UFV Properties Trust will create revenue that would not otherwise be available for the development of on-campus facilities including classrooms and other education and student- centered facilities.

Where will UFV Properties Trust operate?

The property trust initially plans to commence development at UFV’s Abbotsford campus. Later, and in consultation with the City of Chilliwack, the property trust will explore development opportunities at the Canada Education Park (CEP). UFV anticipates completing a campus master planning process at CEP in mid-2024. The property trust plans to work with UFV as well as local CEP stakeholders to support and enable funding for the implementation of the CEP vision. All such plans will be performed with deep consultations with the City and key stakeholders to ensure an aligned vision for the future.

How will the property trust engage Indigenous communities?

  • UFV has a proud record of meaningful engagement and reconciliation with local Indigenous communities. The property trust intends to continue this leadership and work through its own operations.
  • The property trust will establish procurement policies to help create professional employment opportunities for Indigenous members, including:
    • Jobs. Encouraging developers to hire Indigenous members during construction of projects on the Subject Lands.
    • Skills/Training. Requiring developers to provide training/mentorship to Indigenous members during construction of projects.
    • First Nations Contractors. Incentivising developers to hire Indigenous-owned subcontractors to provide services to projects during construction.
    • First Nations Bidding. Using Request for Proposal criteria during procurements to accommodate Indigenous developers.

What environmental sustainability plans will the Trust follow?

  • BC’s Step Code plans already take environmental sustainability goals to an important level, and most BC Hydro electricity in the Fraser Valley is not generated using fossil fuels. Thus, the property trust is seeking broader ways to reduce its carbon footprint, for example by encouraging/supporting car sharing and expanding public transit to the projects.
  • Design Guidelines for development also include certification expectations using a third-party standard. For example this may include one or more of:
    • BC’s Zero Carbon Step Code
    • Built Green Canada
    • National Resources Canada (R2000, Energuide)
    • Canada Green Building Council and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)
    • Possible innovative options: Consider a demonstration project using the Canadian Passive House Institute standard
  • The project envisioning work also encourages sustainable design attributes including
    • Bike paths/lanes, walkable trails connecting to campus.
    • Showcasing surrounding nature.
    • Supporting work-from-home “live-work” zero-commute homes with minimal carbon footprint.
    • Solar-ready designs.
    • Parking stalls with electric charge stations.
    • Efficient appliances.
    • Exploring the possibility of district energy.
    • Transit-oriented and supportive.
    • Ensuring recycling and waste diversion during construction.

What intentional community elements are included in plans?

  • In addition to environmentally sustainable goals, the vision includes a strong focus on building projects with intentional community elements and “social sustainability”. These elements include:
    • Intergenerational neighbourhoods, with age-in-place housing.
    • Vibrant surroundings, street fairs, festivals.
    • Multiple transportation modes – transit, shared vehicles, bikes, e-bikes.
    • Community gardens, community workshops.
    • Pedestrian-friendly. Pedestrians given priority over car ingress/egress and parking
    • Gathering spaces, piazzas.
    • Commitments to preserving access and use of shared spaces.
    • Marketing programs aimed at attracting people energized by intentional community elements and neighbourhoods (for example emphasizing community elements, features and full-time occupancy of units).

Will UFV sell land?

No. UFV will retain ownership of the development lands. Lands will be leased for 99 years to developers – similar to what UBC, SFU and other trusts have done. Some land may be dedicated to the city for roads and greenspace, as is normal in subdivision processes to allow site services.

Why is this a lease situation? Wouldn’t it be better to offer freehold real estate?

UFV has chosen to use a lease approach to (i) ensure satisfaction of UFV Board goals to retain ownership of the land for long-term use by the university, and (ii) to follow successful past precedents at post-secondary institutions.

Why retain title to the land? Building on it effectively negates ever selling it again?

UFV retains ownership of the land and functions as a landlord to developers who build projects. This ensures that at the end of the 99-year land leases the land is available for use by UFV. Any buildings built on the land will be at the end of their useful life at the end of the lease and are anticipated to be demolished. The template lease includes a mechanism for the wind-up of projects at the end of the lease.

Traffic in and around campus can be very heavy. Won’t this plan just add to it?

  • A key goal of the Trust is to build walkable, pedestrian-friendly communities including live-work “zero-commute” homes, electric vehicle charging stations and car sharing. The plans will respect existing neighbourhood plans.
  • Parking will be managed through on-site and underground parking to ensure no street overflow (including provision for visitor parking). Traffic congestion will be addressed by hiring professional parking consultants to advise on street configuration and traffic flow management. While new development can bring increased traffic, this must be balanced against the overall benefits of building density within walking distance to UFV and surrounding amenities.

Where will the money from the Trust go?

The Trust distributes all cash to its two beneficiaries: UFV and the UFV Foundation.

How will UFV finance this?

UFV will finance seed money for the Trust’s initial launch and infrastructure costs.

What is UFV’s role in the business of the Trust after launch?

  • UFV functions as a landlord and owner of the land. UFV’s role is restricted to matters normally vested in a landlord such as consenting to material modifications to the development guidelines.
  • UFV establishes design guidelines for new projects.

How does the Trust enter leases with developers?

  • UFV Properties Trust has established an “Agreement to Lease” as well as standardized ground leases to be used by the Trust and developers.
  • These template agreements are based upon past precedents used by UBC, SFU and TRU.
  • The templates place strict limitations on the business arrangements the Trust can enter and also stringently protect UFV interests.
  • Leases cannot be materially changed without senior government approval.

Can the Trust borrow from 3rd party lenders?

Yes. The Trust can borrow for infrastructure costs.

Will Campus Communities partner?

Campus Communities anticipates partnering and collaborating on developments in the second phase of its roll-out (after repaying anticipated debt obligations). Such partnering and collaborations could include commercial and/or research developments – particularly at Canada Education Park. For example, Campus Communities is interested in discussing health research collaborations – particularly those looking at broader social challenges including social isolation and multidisciplinary initiatives (e.g. commercial building owner/operators of buildings housing “One Health” research tenants).

Will Campus Communities address the affordable housing crisis?

Yes. Campus Communities is exploring ways to address the housing crisis and simultaneously enhance community building at its projects. We are taking a long-term perspective on housing affordability – considering both initial purchase price as well as long-term ownership costs. We’re assessing the feasibility of rent-to-own options, purpose-built rental projects, support for the “missing middle” family housing, flexible home designs including lock-off suites to allow for efficient ownership options, and even supporting car sharing in communities to eliminate the need for a second car for families (significantly reducing the cost of living for community members).