CSU Student Housing Co-Op Expected to Open Sooner Than Planned

Intersectional Feminist Position Adopted and Updates Given on HOJO Move

A tentative sketch of what the co-op housing complex will look like. Photo provided by UTILE.
A tentative sketch of the inner courtyard of the building. Levesque said the ramp will be remodeled to accommodate better for residents in wheelchairs. Photo provided by UTILE.
Another tentative sketch of what the rooftop will look like. Levesque said that soon students will be able to grow some “very interesting plants in the upcoming year.” Photo provided by UTILE.

The Concordia Student Union student housing cooperative is set to open in July 2018, almost a year earlier than originally planned.

The news came at the union’s council meeting on Dec 14, from Laurent Levesque the general coordinator of Unité de travail pour l’implantation de logement étudiant—a non-profit real estate developer also known as UTILE.

Initially the housing complex was only expected to open sometime in 2019. Students interested in renting an apartment in the complex will be able to start leasing by December of 2017.

The co-op housing complex will have 90 apartments, ranging in size from one to four bedrooms each. The average cost per room is $450 per month, but costs will vary depending on the size of the apartment. Small one bedroom apartments are expected to cost $535 per month, and rooms in larger four bedroom apartments are expected to cost $395 per month.

The project is expected to cost $14 million. UTILE is working with the CSU to secure a bank loan for the mortgage, expected to cost $8.5 million.

The rest of the funds are coming from the CSU’s Popular University Student Housing fund—which draws its funds from the the Student Space Accessible Education and Legal Contingency fund—and from the Fiducie du Chantier de L’Économie Sociale’s Trust fund.

The PUSH fund has already provided $1.8 million for project, to pay for the land, and Fiducie has promised to provide $1.1 million for the project. Though they initially promised to provide $1.5 million for the project back in March.

Levesque said ten per cent of the apartments will be wheelchair accessible, which includes the apartments on the first floor. He said this was due to the fact that there was not enough funds to pay for an elevator in the complex.

Although the land has been purchased, it’s not yet been announced where exactly the new co-op housing complex will be. Levesque said a public announcement of the location will be given sometime in January. However, UTILE had said in March that it’ll be no farther than a 30-minute commute by public transport from the downtown campus.

“I hope you’re excited, we’re very excited as this is becoming more and more concrete, no pun intended,” said Levesque.

Over the winter, UTILE plans to finish the interior design of the housing complex, and to get a construction permit for the land that’s been bought. This process will be done with the oversight of the CSU General Coordinator Lucinda Marshall-Kiparissis, and with a provisional committee made up of six Concordia students from various faculties.

Currently the provisional committee only has four Concordia students on it, with two spots open. Those interested in the positions can apply through the CSU website.

Intersectional Feminist Position

The CSU adopted an official intersectional feminist position to their positions book after a motion was proposed by Sustainability Coordinator, Lana Galbraith. It would help ensure that priority be given to female or non-gender conforming students, especially those who are non-white, who wanted to be part of the CSU or hired by the CSU.

The aim of the position is to allow for the inclusion of those who are generally less represented and who therefore have less access to CSU roles, said academic and advocacy coordinator Sophia Sahrane.

Finance Coordinator Thomas David Bashore explained that the position would only give priority to generally “non-represented” peoples as long as they had the proper experience to run for an open position.

Councillors Julia Sutera Sardo and Agunik Mamikonyan hoped the wording of the motion would be made more specific.

Bashore said if for example, a non-white woman had relatively equal experience to another person who was applying for a job but who was white and male, then the CSU would prioritize the non-white woman applying and hire them instead.

Sahrane ensured the rest of the executives and councillors present that the position was not “an affirmative action position.”

Initially it looked like the position’s approval would be delayed due to criticisms by councillors Julia Sutera Sardo and Agunik Mamikonyan.

The councillors worried that the wording in position was too vague and not specific enough in it aims, and that it therefore needed to reworded before being approved by the CSU. But their motion to amend the wording failed, and the position was passed.

Updates on the costs expected for the new HOJO offices

Approximately $4,300 will be allocated for Concordia’s Housing and Job Office’s move across the Hall Building mezzanine into the old art consignment shop space. The move was originally announced in October. That amount will go to building a perimeter wall for the new HOJO offices.

The move is expected to be complete around April.

Some errors that were made in the original publication in regards to the co-op housing complex have been corrected