Between the Motions: Council approves $695k for Blue Chip, Pie R Squared renovation

Last night, AMS councillors met for the last time in 2022 for two back-to-back Council meetings. AMS code requires Council to meet twice a month, but an informal poll of councillors found that not enough would be able to attend a potential meeting next week.

At the two meetings, councillors discussed food outlet renovations in the Nest and executive goals.

Here’s what you might have missed.

Something old, something new, something Blue (Chip)

Council approved $695,000 in funding to move Blue Chip to the old Pie R Squared location in the Nest and put a Mediterranean restaurant in Blue Chip’s current location. The AMS had previously announced the move and renovations as an effort to maximize food outlet space in the Nest.

AMS designer Michael Kingsmill presented the details of the plan to Council.

Kingsmill said the new location for Blue Chip will have more seating and that the AMS wants to make it “a coffee shop where people can come and spend time and meet their friends.”

“Pizza is a very oversaturated market and very large," said Kingsmill. "And I think pizza has done its time. And now we're looking at changing that up with Blue Chip cookies."

Along with more seating, the new location will have an added espresso machine “to move the line a little faster.” Construction at the old Pie R Squared location will begin in February and end in April, with the move of Blue Chip itself to take place soon after.

Kingsmill said Blue Chip will remain open while construction is ongoing at Pie R Squared, and that the move of the outlet’s equipment will take place over a weekend to prevent significant interruptions to its operations.

Construction on the Mediterranean restaurant in the current Blue Chip location will last two months and end in July, according to Kingsmill. He said the restaurant will have a variety of Mediterranean food including vegan options and shawarma. AMS President Eshana Bhangu added that there will also be pasta.

Board of Governors representative Max Holmes raised concerns about the frequency with which the AMS changes its food outlets, saying “This isn't something we can continuously keep doing.”

Bhangu responded, saying she doesn’t “think it's ideal that you're shutting down a business and reopening one every four or five years” but that this move would be “a pretty safe bet.”

“I think this is really good because it allows us to compete more strongly with like Loafe, which is a pretty direct competitor,” she added.

Councillors approve new and updated exec goals

Recently elected VP Finance Lawrence Liu presented his executive goals to Council.

Liu’s first goal is to improve the AMS/GSS Health & Dental Plan. Liu’s priorities include better access to gender-affirming care and mental health care.

In response to a question about the change in mental health coverage from $1,500 to $1,250 earlier this year, Liu said, “That's definitely one of the things on our list. But at the end of the day, whatever we do, we have to do it in a financially sustainable way.”

Liu’s other two goals are an efficient transition to the new finance system and better transparency and collaboration from his office.

Council voted to approve Liu’s goals, as well as updated goals from Bhangu and VP Academic and University Affairs Dana Turdy.