King's students put canteen levy to a vote

Referendum will determine whether locally sourced snacks are worth $14 levy

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King’s student Emily Beattie stands outside the renovated canteen space inside the campus bar (Photo: Sarah Kraus).

King’s student Emily Beattie stands outside the renovated canteen space inside the campus bar (Photo: Sarah Kraus).

Tomorrow at 7 p.m. in the University of King's College Wardroom, students will vote on the future of a campus canteen.

The King's Student Union is taking the next step towards starting a student-run canteen. They're holding a referendum to determine whether students are willing to pay an extra $14 a year to support this endeavor. The levy would be added on to tuition fees for the next three years, starting this winter. Unlike some levies, students would not be able to opt out of the fee.

Last year, a similar canteen was owned and operated by Sodexo, the same company that serves food in the King's cafeteria.

However, during a poll conducted by the KSU last year, several respondents voiced concern over the lack of local or organic food options available on campus. Some suggested that opening a student-run canteen could remedy these issues.

Levy Revenue


If King's has approximately 1200 registered students, the $14 levy will generate $16,800 a year to help the KSU run the canteen. Over three years, this will add up to over $50,000. 

 

John Adams, the KSU's internal co-ordinator, ran the numbers to determine whether a student-run initiative might be viable.

He determined that to cover start-up costs and pay for $75,000 in renovations to spruce up the canteen, the KSU would need to cash in an $83,000 GIC that was being saved for a project of this nature. The additional $14 student levy will cover the cost of operations.

Adams also says the union "won't get rich doing this."

KSU President Gabe Hoogers says "the budget has the canteen staying afloat. But the object of the canteen, first and foremost, is to offer a service to the university."

If the canteen does fall into debt, the KSU is solely responsible for paying it off. In the case of red ink, money would either be pulled from the KSU's general operating budget, or the canteen would be forced to declare bankruptcy.

Local Source Market and Java Blend coffee roasters would be the primary suppliers for the student run canteen. Both organizations pride themselves on being environmentally friendly - meeting the demands of the student body.

Fourth-year sustainability major Emily Beattie plans on going to the referendum to get more information about exactly how the canteen would operate. While she isn't positive of which way she'll cast her vote, Beattie says "you can't complain about a situation if you don't vote."

Voting on the levy will take place outside the King's cafeteria on Wed., Jan. 11. At least 25 per cent of the student body must take part in order for a decision to be made.

 

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