SMART goes corporate

Clean-up service to separate from the MAC

SMART Head Manager Andrew Stokes.
SMART Head Manager Andrew Stokes.

The Student Maintenance and Resource Team (SMART), an AMS service that provides regular clean-up work throughout the student housing area will become an official corporate service come May 1.

SMART, which was created last year, is currently under the purview of the Municipal Affairs Commission (MAC) and the AMS vice-president of University Affairs.

The service is intended to help fulfill the mandate of the MAC in improving town-gown relations by cleaning up the student housing area, so that it will no longer be referred to as the “Student Ghetto.”

SMART’s services are also available on a contract-basis for local landlords. The service employs students to rake leaves, cut grass and complete maintenance work, such as fence and deck repairs for local properties. It also runs a “red cup program,” which charges property owners $25 per hour to clean up yards.

Both the MAC and the vice-president of University Affairs don’t have the necessary expertise to deal with the budgeting, finances, marketing and workplace safety standards of the service, said Mira Dineen, AMS vice-president of University Affairs.

“Leaving SMART within the [MAC] represents an opportunity cost for the time and energy of the commissioner and the VPUA,” she told the Journal via email.

This means the MAC and the VPUA would have less time to spend on other responsibilities within their portfolios.

“A corporate service director and the vice-president of operations are much better suited to mentoring and overseeing the head manager and the service.”

The decision to transition the service was passed at AMS Assembly on Jan. 24, after a consultation with the SMART head manager, the current and previous Municipal Affairs Commissioners, AMS retail operations officer, AMS information officer and the AMS board of directors, Dineen said.

According to Dineen, SMART was established as a government service last year because of its political mandate to improve town-gown relations.

“[However], SMART differs dramatically from other AMS government services, such as the Peer Support Centre, the Food Centre, the Academic Grievance Centre, and the Bike Shop,” she said. “SMART is a corporate service, with wages staff, inventory, revenue and business contracts with the City and the community,” she said.

It has not yet been determined which service director will oversee SMART. Dineen said the shift, which is expected to be finalized by May 1, won’t affect the services offered by SMART.

However, changes need to be made to ensure that SMART still upholds its political mandate.

These include holding scheduled meetings between the MAC, the SMART Head Manager, and the service director.

“[They] will discuss matters related to the perception of SMART by community members, City staff or bodies, the University and other stakeholders related to the [MAC],” she added.

In addition, the MAC will continue to sit on the AMS Landlord Advisory Board with the SMART head manager, to discuss issues relating to the student housing area and the rest of the City.

Tristan Lee, AMS vice-president of operations, said the shift was expected when SMART was created last year.

“It was created with the understanding that it may have to shift at some point in the future,” she said. “This change is logical and one that was bound to happen, we have decided to do this in order to make sure the service moves forward sustainably and efficiently.”

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