CJSW one step closer to new space

By Katy Anderson

After years of negotiations, pitfalls and hopeful Gauntlet headlines, it looks like the Students’ Union and CJSW are finally close to reaching an agreement to move the campus radio station into a new space.

A proposal for CJSW and the SU to split a $300,000 outstanding construction fee was brought before the Students’ Legislative Council Tues., Feb. 13, and will go through the first reading in SLC Tues., Feb. 27.

Construction on CJSW’s new space on the third floor of MacEwan Student Centre was halted in January 2006 by the SU, who claimed CJSW lacked funds for the project. Every month construction is put off project costs increase by approximately 15 per cent.

“CJSW strongly feels that it isn’t responsible for additional fees and penalties,” said CJSW board chair Brian Milne. “[In the past] the SU has suggested that physical work done amounts to $90,000. We figured we’d just cut our losses, pay $90,000 and move on. It’s taken a long time with little results. The $150,000 is a compromise for both sides. CJSW can’t and won’t go any higher than that.”

After months of tedious deliberation over previous agreements, Milne and SU vice-president operations and finance Cody Wagner have come to the conclusion there are three viable options to move forward with construction. The first is for CJSW to pay only the $90,000 they believe is owed for work already done. The second is to have both parties pay half of the contracted amount. The third is for CJSW to pay the entire contracted amount of $298,000. Both the first and third options would require the two parties to go to court. Court fees would be between $50-80,000, bringing the total amount for either party close enough to the compromise that it hardly seems worth the trouble, said Wagner in the SLC meeting.

“This really points fingers at both parties to accept some responsibility for it,” said Wagner. “It keeps us out of court and allows us to move on.”

Milne said that an ongoing payment period was a crucial factor in the agreement.

“If CJSW were to pay $150,000 right now it would put the project in jeopardy,” said Milne. “Because of that, a critical piece of the compromise is that CJSW pay it over the term agreed upon. CJSW has to be able to pay this in a way that allows CJSW to still put more money into their new space. The whole purpose of Cody [Wagner] and I trying to work through this is to move CJSW into its new space, which is sitting vacant on the third floor. We’d like to have that space filled as quickly as possible.”

As well as getting into the new space, Milne is eager to move on in the relationship.

“It’s a compromise for both sides and hopefully it means CJSW getting upstairs and burying the hatchet for the past and what’s gone on–on both sides,” said Milne. “It’s been a messy situation.”

Wagner agreed.

“This is a very important milestone in the CJSW /SU relationship,” he said.

The proposal comes during discussion of the potential relocation of the loading docks in MSC in order to make way for the University of Calgary’s planned digital library project. CJSW is currently occupying space that would potentially be needed if the SU loading dock had to be moved to the opposite side of the building.

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