December 16, 2010
LEN EVANS CENTRE FOR TRADES AND TECHNOLOGY OFFICIALLY OPENED OCTOBER 1, 2010
On October 1st the Len Evans Centre for Trades and Technology was officially opened with Premier Selinger , the College President, Mark Frison, and Drew Caldwell, MLA for Brandon East in attendance along with several dignitaries. This marked the official hand-off of the $46 million facility to the College administration which was two years under construction on the Brandon Mental Health Centre campus of Assiniboine Community College.
Premier Selinger stated: “I think by dedicating it to Len Evans and all the service he gave to Brandon, it just adds an extra layer of meaning to the whole facility. It links the past with the future.”
In response to the Premier’s introduction Len Evans delivered the following statement:
Thank you Mr.Premier for your kind remarks.
First let me express my sincere gratitude for honouring me in recognition of my 30 years of public service by associating my name with this impressive and significant structure. This centre and the programs that it offers will certainly enhance the reputation of ACC as an outstanding institution of post secondary education. Located on this beautiful campus site it will play an important role in the years ahead in the sphere of trades and technology training in the province.
When I first ran for office in the provincial election in the summer of 1969 I really thought that I would experience a few weeks of activity in the political arena with the opportunity to express my views on some key issues facing our province and community. But I believed that the chances of getting elected were very slim since I was running against one strong candidate who was well known and respected in the Brandon East Constituency. So I explained to my family that they need not be concerned and that when the campaign was over I would continue teaching in the economics department of Brandon University and also carry on with the completion of my PhD program. Boy was I so wrong! Not only was I elected but was immediately put into the Cabinet of Premier Schreyer as Minister of Mines and Natural Resources.
Indeed I ended up serving for 30 years with 8 of them in the cabinet of Ed Schreyer and then 7 more in the administration of Howard Pawley. But in those three decades I was privileged to be given the opportunity to contribute to the well-being of the province and to work on behalf of my Brandon constituents to enhance the growth of the City and to improve the quality of life in the community.
But I must say that in the process one’s family does make a sacrifice in not having their father around as much as before because Dad is busy with long sittings of the Legislature and attending meetings in so many different parts of Canada and elsewhere. So I do thank my wife, Alice, and our three children for the many sacrifices they made over these years.
On the lighter side let me tell you that working on constituency issues sometimes involved humorous situations such as my dealings with our very dynamic Minister of Highways, Mr. Joe Borowski, who flew to Brandon on a Saturday morning in 1969 to personally inspect our old, crumbling First Street Bridge. Initially he drove over the structure then got out of his car to walk over it, and then crawled down the embankment to the railway track below and then persuaded the railway crew to stop shunting the box cars to allow him to climb up the side of a box car to closely inspect the concrete pillars which he saw were eroding along with the metal straps but which were rusting badly. He said, “Well Len, you certainly need a new bridge and I will give you a choice. Tell me would you like a two lane bridge built here now and another two lane bridge built in a few years further east in the city. Or would you like a four lane bridge right now.” Using the old adage that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush I said, “Joe, we will take a four lane bridge right now.” And indeed we did not have to wait long for construction to start. As a bonus we got beautiful double lane highway as a new approach.
In closing I want to congratulate you, Mr. Premier and your government for this initiative. I know that it is an investment which has involved millions of dollars but it is an investment that will increase both the quantity and quality of trades and technology training in the province and which in turn will assist in the economic development of Manitoba. It truly enhances the role of ACC as an important and significant institution within the college system in Canada.
I extend my sincere best wishes to the administration, the staff and the students of ACC. May there be many years of quality teaching and learning in this magnificent Centre.
(See photos in the newsletter)