CJSW Episode IV: A New Hope

By Chris Beauchamp

An anonymous donor has stepped up to pledge support for the relocation of CJSW, prompting hope that construction may resume on the station’s new space.

“A private donor has moved forward where he or she’s in a position to help CJSW financially,” said Students’ Union vice-president operations and finance Joel Lockwood, noting the help would not be a donation, but rather a loan for the station. “It’s a big surprise. It’s definitely positive.”

Tensions have grown between the station and the SU after the SU halted construction on CJSW’s new space in early January, citing a lack of funding on the station’s part. CJSW maintains the SU has not provided the station with enough information to sign off on the costs.

“This isn’t the end to all ends,” said CJSW station manager Chad Saunders. “Ultimately we need to understand the costs of building a radio station on campus and we need it to be affordable.”

Saunders said the next steps will be negotiating the terms of the loan and finalizing an agreement. He also mentioned there have been other potential donors who have stepped up as well.

“There’s a few members willing to pony up money for the space, or lend us money, but they also want to know what the costs are,” he said.

The project would move the campus radio station from its long-time home in the bowels of MacEwan Student Centre to the third-floor, along with NUTV and a new prayer space.

The decision to halt construction came after CJSW asked the University of Calgary to conduct an audit on the SU, who are acting as project managers. The audit concluded the SU was charging 10 per cent more for construction costs than the auditor deemed necessary, but Lockwood said the result was within industry standards.

The station hoped to get help from the U of C or the SU in securing a loan, but Lockwood explained that by-laws restricted the SU from lending money or co-signing to lend. Saunders said the university was also unable to help directly because technically the station is a service to students, not a necessity.

“It’s unfortunate we don’t really have a lot of options in financial support from sources at the U of C,” he said. “But this shows CJSW is continuing to find support from the community for this project. I’m told there’s a lot of money in this town, it’s just a matter of us getting a hold of it.”

Lockwood is planning to meet with the donor this week to negotiate terms for the loan. Construction on new space for NUTV and the prayer space is continuing.

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