By Rob South
After 11 years in MacEwan Student Centre, the Delhi Deli will serve samosas for the last time on Nov. 30. The month-to-month lease the store has been on since 1997 is not being renewed by the University of Calgary Students’ Union.
According to SU Vice-president Operations and Finance Matt Lauzon, the Delhi Deli pays the lowest rent of any food court tenant. The SU decided to not renew the lease for both reasons of profit and to provide students a healthier selection of food.
"It has gotten to the point where there are other opportunities before us," said Lauzon. "In order to keep serving the student population as best we can, we feel it’s best to move to an all-day café type concept."
Lauzon went on to explain that the café would sell products like wraps, salads, soups and savouries. The decision to sell these types of products was aided by some student focus groups which were conducted by U of C Services to Students sub-committee and surveys done by last year’s VP Events Jared Lorenz.
All students do not share the opinion that this change will be beneficial. Over the years the Delhi Deli built up a loyal clientele. As of Nov. 22, well over 100 students had signed a petition to save the establishment. Fourth-year psychology student Peter Halpin is particularly upset by the decision.
"It’s totally unfair," said Halpin. "The way it seems to me is that it is unreasonable to tell a tenant of 11 years to move out by the end of the month."
The owners of the Delhi Deli do not feel the SU acted unfairly in not renewing their lease, but they are very reluctant to leave and want the decision to be reversed.
"We will really miss the interaction with the students," said owner Harold Shivij.
Shivij and his wife Sima have been involved in helping many students on campus. Shivij said the Delhi Deli gave subsidized or free meals for poor students and
because he is a sessional math professor, Shivij gave free tutoring to students.
Shivij feels the Delhi Deli offers a unique and diverse selection of food and that it should not be taken away from students.
"I think that there is a small and dedicated following to the Delhi Deli that will be affected," said Lauzon. "But it’s our job to look after all students."
Shivij is also concerned he is being moved out because food court Company’s Coming and Dairy Queen owner Blaine Houge stated to him a number of years ago a desire to acquire the Delhi Deli space.
Lauzon confirmed Houge is negotiating for the space with the SU.