Mel Lehan promises NDP government funding for UBC Farm

NDP Vancouver–Point Grey candidate Mel Lehan swears that he feels like he’s died and gone to heaven.

On the phone with the Straight today (May 4), Lehan said that his party has agreed to provide the UBC Farm with annual funding of $200,000 if the New Democrats form a government after the May 12 provincial election.

This, according to the respected Kitsilano community organizer, will ensure that the 24-hectare farm will survive the threat of being paved over and converted into a site for high-end housing.

Lehan is running against B.C. Liberal candidate Gordon Campbell and Stephen Kronstein of the Green Party .

“My work as an activist has just paid off,” Lehan said. “The NDP understands the work I’ve done on the UBC farm and they have made a commitment. It’s a long-term commitment.”

Administered by the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, the farm is also a teaching and research facility. The centre is part of the UBC faculty of land and food systems, which provided financial support for the farm from 2000 to 2004.

Since 2004, the farm hasn’t received funding from the university. It has instead relied on proceeds from operations, grants, and contributions.

Located on the south campus of UBC, the land is designated as part of a future housing reserve under the university’s official community plan.

Lehan said that he proposed to the NDP the allocation of funding for the farm.

“This now has basically guaranteed that the UBC Farm will survive, and I can’t tell how thrilled I am,” Lehan said.