Home News QPIRG, Frigo Vert to lose home

QPIRG, Frigo Vert to lose home

by Archives September 4, 2002

The FrigoVert and the Quebec Public Interest Research Group (QPIRG) are bracing themselves for a rough semester.

Less than a month before the start of the fall term they received notification from their landlord that their lease will be terminated in the coming weeks.

“We have a two year lease that was automatically renewed in April,” explained Helen Hudson the co-ordinator of QPIRG at Concordia, “but there is a clause in our lease that says we can be kicked out at any time if the landlord wants to change the building into a private residence.”

The non-profit groups, who share the lease, were informed by their landlord, MK Group, that the building where they have their offices, 2130 Mackay, is slated for extensive renovations.

The landlord is turning the building into private condominium units. Although no official date of eviction was given to either group, when construction begins in their area of the building they will be forced to move.

“We are going to be out of here at the most in six months but most probably ASAP,” said Hudson.

The short notice has left the groups scrambling to relocate their operations and store their equipment. Although the CSU and other campus groups have offered to help, they have limited space with which to assist the two organizations.

“We will be trying to help them in every way possible but it is going to be difficult because their building is not university property,” explained CSU president Sabine Friesinger.

“We would like the university to give them space,” she added. Hudson is not counting on the University to ease the situation. She has lobbied the administration for space for the past three years to no avail.

Although some QPIRG projects are administrative and need nothing more than a desk and phone, others such as their resource library would be greatly affected by a move.

The problem is amplified for those working at the FrigoVert, a non-profit organic food store. They depend on a store front window at street level to attract new business.

“We definitely couldn’t keep running as a store if we are kicked out,” explained Laura Copeland, an employee at the FrigoVert. She is not optimistic about finding an adequate space that fits their budget. Despite the situation she remains adamant about not shutting down the operation.

“Even a temporary shutdown will hinder our outreach to the community,” she said. “There is no way we can shut this down.”

That is not welcome news for students who shop at the FrigoVert. “I go into the FrigoVert about once a week,” said Katherine Childs. “Yes, there are other places in Montreal to get the services that the FrigoVert provides but they are not part of the Concordia community.”

With the new school year beginning already, Hudson and Copeland are trying to find contingency plans for worst case scenarios. “It will definitely not be a normal year at the FrigoVert,” mused Copeland.

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