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UBC Okanagan access isn't banned from everyone, say university officials

It's too soon to name winners and losers in the Supreme Court's decision on a controversial access point to UBC Okanagan, say university representatives.

"We just need to understand who the users are who have a legitimate use of the (Curtis Road) right-of-way," said Bud Mortenson.

"It's unlikely it will be everyone but it's also unlikely it will be no one."

Mortenson explained the court reiterated that the Curtis Road easement  is a private right of way, and indicated that the university shouldn't be holding it out as anything other than that.

"And we haven't done that anyway," said Mortenson.

That said, the court also upheld the view that UBC-O has some rights to use the extension off Curtis Road that's used to access the campus, in a portion of the decision that's being closely scrutinized by the university counsel.

"If we go back in time to the original property, there were a number of parcels of land and one of them is Lot Six," he said, explaining that Lot Six is a 13-acre chunk of land in the southwest corner of the campus, where a number of university amenities now exist.

"It was consumed by the overall campus when they consolidated."

The controversial Curtis Road easement is registered against that 13 acre piece of land, and anyone who has official cause to be there, is allowed to traverse the pathway—and that's where the confusion comes along.

Among those who may still be allowed to use the pathway are cyclists riding to and from classes taking place in that specific lot.

There are also amenities for students in that area, such as the bike racks.

"Does that constitute proper use?" said Mortenson.

"We think so, but we're not sure."

Another area of confusion is how to enforce the change.

The courts upheld an earlier decision that the resident-erected gate blocking campus access must remain open, so Mortenson said that leaves the university to an education campaign.

"As soon as we have a solid handle on what we're able to do, we'll be communicating that out as widely as we can," he said.

They're also holding off on making a decision on whether or not they'll accept the decision as is or bring it back to the court of appeal.

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