November 4, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 36  

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Big purple thing to cause USC ruckus?

By Marshall Bellamy
Gazette Staff

Ugliness, comedy and controversy have collided with a misunderstood awning sparking debate within the University Students' Council and making most wince in bitter, bitter agony.

Engineering councillor Jennifer Yach has posted a motion for tonight's USC meeting to remove the prominent purple awning in the Concrete Beach. "A significant number of students have expressed dislike for the awning," she said.

Yach pointed out the landscaping of the Concrete Beach has cost the USC $350,000, which is $100,000 more than originally planned, and she felt it was irresponsible for the USC to spend a large amount of money for a shelter over a stairwell.

"It's embarrassing - all we have is a half finished 'amphitheatre,' a mud pit and a hideously purple monstrosity," Yach stated.

"Council didn't vote for the awning," Yach asserted, adding "this was never approved by council in the first place."

"[USC President Paul] Yeoman says [removal will cost] $12,000, which I find a little ridiculous. But I think it would take 30 minutes and a few tools," Yach noted, adding she would like to see the USC seek cheaper ways to remove the awning, such as using engineering students to remove the structure.

Part of the cost for the removal of the awning will be $6,000 in lost revenues for the businesses in the basement, Yach said, citing it is difficult to determine how much business will be lost.

Paul Tomlinson, manager of USC building services, stated the initial construction of the awning cost $12,000 and to remove it would take a few days, "They'd have to bring in a crane, they will because it's quite heavy," he said.

There are also plans to alter the appearance of the awning to make it less ugly, Tomlinson asserted, pointing out ideas such as cedar posts for the support struts of the awning, a screen surrounding three sides of the structure and changing the colour of the fabric, which could cost anywhere between $3,000 to $5,000.

"Plans may not always turn out what people expect them to be," said USC communications officer Liz Berman, noting the plans were brought before the USC and the USC did vote on the plans.

"I haven't got any complaints about [the awning]," Berman added.

Tomlinson hopes the Concrete Beach will be substantively completed by Dec. 1. Currently, the masonry needs to be finished and electrical work and other minor projects require completion.



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