Vice-presidential candidates collide in debate

Candidates argue over feasibility of reopening the Physical Education Centre

Credit: 
Graphic by Justin Chin

The AMS vice-presidential candidates debate saw clashing views between the teams running for AMS executive.

The debate, which occurred at Common Ground on Tuesday night, attracted around 50 people, who, like the previous debate, were mainly AMS members.

One of the recurring themes at the debate was the possibility of resuming use of the Physical Education Centre (PEC).

Much of the open discussion revolved around whether or not it would be cost efficient to reopen the 80-year-old building.

Team RMS didn’t address the PEC in their platform but said that a focus on short-term goals and details is more feasible.

“It would be a shame to start a large project … and not see it continue,” said vice-presidential candidate of operations Bryor Snefjella on Tuesday.

Similarly, team GPP said it’s more realistic to offer students goals that can be accomplished within the one-year term.

“This is something the University simply cannot sustain, it’s just not possible,” vice-presidential candidate of operations Duncan Peterson said.

For team JDL, putting the PEC back in use is a main focus of their platform. “Nothing prevents this project from being possible,” vice-presidential candidate of operations Tristan Lee said. “[The Queen’s Centre] project was supposed to be funded partially by the student body … it’s a failure for us as students.”

Following these statements, a disagreement between teams GPP and JDL arose centering on the collection of financial quotes for the resumption of the PEC as a student space.

“This is a very long-term initiative that we’ve put into place,” Lee said. “It’s impossible to come up with a quote for the building at this point.”

In a rebuttal, team GPP presidential candidate Rico Garcia said it would cost more than $2.2 million to finance this project. Team JDL questioned how the team obtained the number.

Lee said after consulting Physical Plant Services, coming up with estimations wasn’t possible at this time.

“I’d be very interested to hear where you guys got that and would be concerned if you were spreading misinformation about this project,” Lee, ArtSci ’12, said.

Another point of contention in the latter half of the debate surrounded the rebranding of Alfie’s and the possibility of hosting first-year events at the on-campus club.

As a major platform point, team GPP said it’s important to include first-years, and that this will also help generate future revenue for Alfie’s if the students remain patrons in later years.

“There would be no drinking but it would be a revenue-generating thing,” Garcia, ArtSci ’13, said. “If you charge cover to that, you can make a revenue.”

Team RMS agreed that first year Alfie’s nights would be a good idea. Unlike the other two teams, Snefjella strongly advocated for the renaming and rebranding of Alfie’s. He stated respect for Alfred Pierce and the history of racism tied to the name as his reasons for doing so.

“If we can get people into Alfie’s, they will keep returning in later years,” Snefjella said.

Lee of team JDL wasn’t in favour of having a first-year night at Alfie’s. He said it would pose logistical problems in terms of training and safety.

“Special events nights are not profitable for the services at all,” Lee said.

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