The Mount Allison Student’s Union Green Investment Fund (GIF) has survived another referendum, with a little help from MASU’s council.
The GIF received 65.9 per cent of votes in favour of renewal of its $10 levy, narrowly missing the two-thirds majority necessary for approval. The levy received 551 votes in favour and 285 against. A hundred students marked that they were abstaining from the vote.
Earlier this year, MASU received legal advice telling them that any referendum that fell between fifty and 66.6 percent support could be considered a non-binding referendum. Council can approve non-binding referenda with a vote, as they did in this case. Two referenda from earlier this year, the 7 Mondays question and the winter carnival referendum, also ended up in limbo and received funding authorization from council.
The GIF’s mandate is to reduce carbon emissions in the Sackville region by providing grant funding to projects that pass a two-stage selection process. The GIF will fund two projects for certain in the 2014-2015 year, and will be tentatively supporting another pending further development.
GIF will be giving $10,552 to re-open the Mount Allison farm.
GIF coordinator Lauren Latour told council the application was a collaborative effort between students and administrators.
Latour said $8,500 would be “going to capital expenditures to get the farm up and running,” with the remaining $2,052 going to pay students who will be employed by the farm in the summer.
The administration aims to have the farm up and running this summer, and will provide food with “zero food miles” to Jennings, meaning the distance traveled is so short carbon emissions are negligible.
Latour added that farm is “going to be organic, free of pesticides and herbicides, and [will be using] minimal heavy equipment.”
The second project was proposed as a part of a larger package by EOS Eco energy, a local NGO dedicated to reducing energy consumption in the Tantramar region.
“EOS asked for $18,000; we are recommending to supply them with $10,500. That is going to cover an electric vehicle charging station somewhere in a public space in Sackville, to allow for an increased number of electric and hybrid vehicles,” said Latour in her presentation to council.
As it stands, there may be a scarcity of electric cars in Sackville.
“We didn’t know how many electric cars there were in Sackville, but we came to the conclusion that was probably because there is no electric car charging station in Sackville,” said Ryan MacRae, a town councillor who is involved with the GIF.
Latour said installing the station will bring electric vehicles. “The town of Sackville and an independent citizen have specified they would be purchasing electric vehicles should the charging station be put in,” she said.
Councillor Liam St. Louis said he was “resolutely against” the motion, calling it “huge amount of money as effectively a subsidy for very few people.”