UBC ranked second among Canadian universities

UBC’s former, now current, president Martha Piper

Plus, Victoria’s putrid poop problem and Vancouver building permits hit an all-time high

Canada’s top-ranked schools
1. University of Toronto
2. University of British Columbia
3. McGill University
4. McMaster University
5. University of Alberta/
University of Montreal (tied)

Second best
In the midst of UBC’s ongoing and rancourous leadership crisis, a bit of good news: the university has ranked 2nd in Canada, after University of Toronto, and 40th worldwide in an annual academic ranking of world universities conducted by Shanghai Jiao Tong University. While the list’s methodological focus is exceedingly narrow—the index is weighted almost entirely by the number of high profile academics, citations in hard science journals and Nobel Prize wins (of which UBC faculty and alumni have won seven)—it’s a good barometer of R&D spending and hard research at big institutions. A little further down the list, Simon Fraser University and University of Victoria both rank between 201st to 300th in the world, or 7th in Canada along with ten other institutions.

Pungent Sound
Victoria’s long-standing poop problem, and the region’s (er, the province’s) failure to come up with a plan to deal with it, has earned the city the ire of the Seattle Times’ editorial board. In an editorial last week, Victoria’s habit of dumping sewage into the sea was labelled “an embarrassment for stately Victoria” that “undermines the rigorous work to clean up Puget Sound.” The city dumps 21 million gallons of raw sewage a day, or approximately a Mount Polley spill worth of poop every eight months. In an op-ed posted Saturday, Lisa Helps, the mayor of Victoria, responded that her city aims to have a plan in place by the end of March 2016. “We’re motivated to become a responsible and sustainable contributor of the rich Pacific Northwest region…. I look forward to the day when we can hold a retirement party for Mr. Floatie.”

Reach for the top
The dollar value of permits for new construction in Vancouver is at an all-time high, according to numbers from the city’s department of planning published by the Vancouver Sun. In the first six months of 2015, the city issued $1.34 billion worth of permits, up from $1.12 billion over the same period last yearAlso, and paradoxically, at an 11-year high: office vacancy rates. BIV spoke to several commercial real estate brokers who cast doubt as to whether there’s demand for this onslaught of supply—which might stall a few already permitted office projects.