By Natalie Sit
From 40 to 10 to one point of contention, the operating agreement between CJSW and the Students’ Union is almost complete. Both agreed to a 10-year agreement however CJSW included a clause which stated the student radio station would like to negotiate for a 25-year agreement.
According to SU Vice-President Operations and Finance Gavin Preston, the agreement is currently at their lawyers to check over that final point.
"They’re asking for 25 years because they’re worried about an evil Students’ Legislative Council getting rid of them," said Preston. "It’s strange, they’ve been here 30 years, and no evil SLC. In legal opinion, what we don’t have we couldn’t give."
Currently, the SU has a 10-year agreement with the university for MacEwan Student Centre and MacEwan Hall. The U of C’s legal counsel said it would be impossible to have a contract longer than the SU’s lease.
In order to complete renovations, CJSW applied successfully for government funding. According to CJSW Station Manager Chad Saunders, they only received the funding because the government expects they will be in the space for a long time.
"We’ve been a radio station for 50 years and in the same space for 30 years," said Saunders, who said CJSW was forced to settle for 10 years. "We’re not going anywhere for another 30 years."
Events Commissioner and CJSW Board member Alex Vyskocil sees the need for a longer contract.
"The 25-year deal is a fight because to deal with the operating agreement took five years," said Vyskocil. "It took another 10 years to figure it out. It’s possible it could take another 10 years to figure out another agreement."
The short time frame is also of concern. The operation agreement and accompanying media bylaw were on the SLC agenda Tue., Apr. 14, however they both were stricken. The meeting was the final meeting of the current SLC and the new SLC will not take office until May 1.
Technically, the operating agreement could be passed by executive cabinet but Preston pledged to bring it to SLC so interested parties could view it. Vyskocil suggested a special SLC meeting could be called to deal with the agreement.
Saunders wants to complete the agreement with the current SU and said Preston has done the most work out of the four previous VP Op-Fis Saunders has negotiated with.
"CJSW will save everyone money on the third floor expansion," said Saunders. "The more it’s delayed, the more money wasted."
Once the agreement is signed, CJSW moves up to the third floor along with NUTV. Construction can then begin on the multi-faith space. Preston hopes construction could be finished by next fall.
As for CJSW’s current space Preston thinks it could be a good space for a new tenant.
"I think those washrooms down there could also be blown out as they no longer have use for the Den," said Preston. "Maybe a liquor store, CD/DVD place, tanning salon, clothing store or new clubs’ offices?"