After nearly 40 years, the campus pub located in the Student Life Centre (SLC), famous for its hashtag fries, Trivia nights and Bomber Wednesdays has been permanently closed. The Bombshelter Pub has incurred financial losses estimated around $1 million in the last five years. The Federation of Students (FEDs) published an article on Monday December 17, 2018 announcing that “The Bombshelter Pub will be closing its doors to evaluate new ways to revitalize the space and enhance the student experience”.
Kurt MacMillan, current FEDs VP of Operations and Finance, had been an employee at The Bomber for four years and wrote how he had observed multiple changes happening at the pub, including the decrease in sales and traffic as well as the frequency and popularity of Bomber Wednesdays. Some students believe the issue lies mostly in the management of pub. Some complaints include the slow food service and that the pub was not very spacious. Ron Kielstra, a graduate student, says, “You would think that selling beer on campus would be guaranteed way to make money, but the space wasn’t conducive to big events”.
As a FEDs Executive last year, MacMillan had to formally review The Bomber and recommend changes. The decision to not re-open the pub in the new year was made by the senior management at FEDs that included MacMillan. The Bombshelter pub employees were recruited through FEDs and about 40 staff members have lost employment, “(but) we do have opportunities elsewhere for these students to still have part-time work,” MacMillan said.
The Federation of Students wants to use this as an opportunity to expand the student experience by having renovations and giving it a “newer” look to match more developed areas of the campus. MacMillan stated that they will be consulting with the undergraduates to come up with ideas on how to utilize the space best and enhance student experience. According to him, “There is nothing set in stone for it”, but the plan is to have a social gathering space for the students like The Bomber provided. He also estimated that it would be about a year before they came up with something new for the space.
The last two events for The Bomber: Last First Bomber Wednesday and New Year’s Eve (NYE) 2.0 were held on January 9, 2019 and January 16, 2019 respectively. This gave students a chance to give The Bomber a proper send-off and reminisce about the great times and celebrations.