UNA candidate profile: Murray McCutcheon

Murray McCutcheon is running for another term on the University Neighbourhoods Association (UNA) Board of Directors.

The Hawthorn Place resident was first elected to the UNA board in 2019 and hopes to continue his work for another three years. McCutcheon feels that for the Board to reach its full potential, more time as a coalition is necessary.

“I think our Board has accomplished many things in the last couple of years, but there are several projects that are active or ahead of us and a lot more work to be done,” he said. “I’m very enthusiastic to represent all dimensions of the UNA.”

McCutcheon is currently the vice-president of corporate development at AbCellera Biologics and has a doctorate from UBC. He has lived in the University Endowment Lands for five years and feels that his experience sets him apart from other candidates.

“I think I’ve demonstrated a track record of engagement and results,” he said. “Even prior to serving on the UNA board, I was an active member of a coalition of residents [that] was speaking out about the Stadium Road neighbourhood redevelopment.”

Through his first term, McCutcheon focused his work on changing the UNA’s governance structure to be more democratic. His first focus for another term would be preparing the UNA to be involved in Campus Vision 2050.

He hopes to invest in giving UNA neighbourhoods more of a community feel through building community gardens and public areas. McCutcheon also hopes to improve community safety and the UNA’s financial sustainability.

However, McCutcheon’s tenure has seen its flaws.

He lamented the Board’s inability to stoke participation from residents of the Chancellor neighbourhood in UNA affairs. Currently, there are no Board members from Chancellor, and none running in this election. McCutcheon feels that the area’s lack of community spaces is to blame.

“Going forward we need to find ways to knit together a broader community even though it's a little bit disconnected,” he said.

“We have students, we have immigrants, we have seniors, we have renters, we have homeowners, we have professors, we have faculty, staff, this is what makes the community so wonderful.”

This is part of The Ubyssey’s coverage of the UNA election. We’ll be covering the candidates, the all-candidates forum and all things UNA until polls close on November 30.