By Ben Hoffman
The long process of creating a new operating agreement, which would see CJSW gain a new workspace and autonomy, is winding down.
In recent conversations, CJSW and the Students’ Union have shortened the list of 35 points of contention over this contract to just 10. Both SU Vice-President Operations and Finance Gavin Preston and CJSW Station Manager Chad Saunders are hopeful the deal will be entering the final stages soon.
"I’m optimistic," said Preston, noting the negotiations between the respective associations’ lawyers are coming to a close. "It should be coming to Student Legislative Council in the next few weeks."
However, the two sides still have differing opinions to resolve.
"We went from 35 points we could argue to 10," Preston said, "Nine of these things are okay. The only real sticker is the [length] of the contract."
CJSW is currently trying to get a 25-year contract, while the SU wants the contract to be shorter.
"If [CJSW has] been around for 49 years, and in the same space for 30, I don’t really see an issue with signing a long-term contract," said Saunders. "We’re looking for permanency."
The SU is concerned a long-term contract would give CJSW the ability to move off campus, while Saunders believes the contract would secure the station’s future.
"The idea behind a long-term contract is not to move [off campus], it’s to secure a space on campus," Saunders said, adding the $800,000 investment to move the station’s offices to the third floor in MacEwan Student Centre would tie it to the university.
Despite the argument over the last major contention, both sides agree progress is occurring, and a deal will be made soon.
"I’ve been working on this deal for three years," said Saunders. "What has happened over the last three months has been the most productive in that time. Do I think things are going good? Yes."