University Town

Project brings town and gown closer together

Feature-2-King-North-streetscape1Craig Toews sees the big benefits of living in a university town. And he’s planning to make the connection between town and gown even closer.

“We want to bring the city to the university and the university to the city,” says UFV’s director of campus planning.

To do that, UFV has two major strategies.

The first is to create centres of learning in the heart of downtown. UFV recently opened Clearbrook Centre in Abbotsford’s civic core, and UFV Five Corners in the historic centre of Chilliwack.

And second, to work with the City of Abbotsford on a vision for a university district surrounding the King Road campus. UFV students, alumni, faculty and staff engaged in design charrettes and community forums.

“What we want is an area where people can live, work, play and learn, and use a variety of services within walking distance of campus,” Toews says, noting that the UFV Chilliwack campus at Canada Education Park is already in a vibrant university district, Garrison Crossing, with mixed housing, recreational facilities, shopping and restaurants.

Toews calls the proposed Abbotsford U-District a “win, win, win” idea.

“If the city were to develop the U-District concept in terms of rezoning and servicing, then we’re going to attract developers who will provide the UFV community with affordable housing, and mixed use amenities and services right off campus. That’s the first win. The university would then focus our capital resources on building more academic and cultural facilities rather than more residences. That’s the second win. And the developers and businesses that move in nearby will have a huge local market for their products and services. That’s the third win.”

UFV alumni and friends are invited to help shape the future of Abbotsford’s U-District. For more information, visit