Editorial: Losing Count of Student Space Projects

Graphic Graeme Shorten Adams

Like an airport ensnared in a bitter snowstorm, the Concordia Student Union’s large-scale plans remain grounded.

Before the Hive and Mezz cafés can become a reality, management and infrastructure must be established—and the CSU has yet to agree on that first step—with the clock ticking on the current executive’s mandate.

The idea of a singular management system coordinating both cafés has merit, effectively halving the number of executives and administrators needed to make both spaces run.

The theory is that the prep work put into the Hive could be transferred to the Mezz, saving time and funding, all under the same roof. It makes sense, since both are being run under the co-operative model.

But it also feels like an all-or-nothing scenario. With one governance structure, either both cafés will get off the ground simultaneously or neither will open their doors for the foreseeable future. If The Hive Café stalls, so does the Mezz Café.

If we have a proposal that makes sense for the Mezz Café alone—which is co-operative and student-run, as mandated by undergrads—it seems unwise to not take it. The Mezz Café should be the priority of the two, since students will be missing their Hall Building caffeine fix if our union can’t find a replacement for Java U.

For the Hive, those promised a new café in their first year are now graduating without seeing any tangible progress. At least we know the Mezz space already has the capacity to work for a café, and unlike the Hive, construction is not a must.

We’re still a long way from even breaking ground on these projects—and election season is only a month away.

It seems the CSU cannot agree on where the funds for these projects will come from either. In the interim, Reggie’s bar partygoers will remain thirsty until the bar gets back on its feet—construction talks with the Concordia administration inevitably gummed up in the myriad of other construction projects the university has on the go.

It would be easy for the on-campus watering hole to be pushed to the back burner, as the CSU continues the five-year fumble with the Hive, now with the Mezz Café lumped in too.

Money’s tight for these projects, despite the fact we have more than $10 million in the CSU’s Student Space, Accessible Education and Legal Contingency Fund. With one indefinitely closed bar, a soon-to-be vacant café space and the empty room we ironically call “the Hive,” a project as huge as a student centre seems laughable at the moment.

We need to figure out how to fund the projects already in limbo, and the fact that we have millions earmarked for a project we may not even be capable of taking on is pretty painful.

This student space fund could be the answer to some of these current café woes. We’re collectively putting more than another million dollars in the fund each year; it’s time that money does something more tangible than dubious space surveys.

The use of this fund for current projects will be discussed at the next CSU council meeting, and we urge our student reps to consider the mess our current student space is in when deliberating what kind of funding there is to improve the situation.

It seems foolish to chase the dream of a full-fledged student centre when we can’t even manage a bar and a couple cafés.