As a member of the Assiniboine Community’s College’s board of governors, I was pleased and delighted to read the articles in the Brandon Sun endorsing the idea that the provincial government proceed now with the renovation and conversion of the Parkland Building to accommodate the next step in the full relocation of ACC to the North Hill campus.
I first became involved in the campaign to have ACC relocated at the former Brandon Mental Health Centre on the north hill in 2002-03. At that time, there was one group seeking to open the site up for private development. There was a second group that took the position that the building and campus were important community assets that should be saved and used for public development.
This group proposed relocation of ACC to the site. Eventually, the provincial government decided that since the college would have to be expanded, relocation to the North Hill would be an alternative to expansion at the existing ACC site. The decision to move to the North Hill generated much enthusiasm and support from this community, and the rural areas in the Westman region.
The government had identified an expansion of post-secondary education opportunities as a key component in its strategy for economic growth, and a catalyst to new investment and development in this part of the province. It resolved to make ACC a regional centre that would attract students from not only southwestern Manitoba, our entire province, but include students from other provinces and countries. It would also be a complement to Brandon University and follows the strategic direction set out from the City of Brandon to be an educational centre of excellence.
In his op-ed piece in the Brandon Sun on Oct. 13, ACC president Mark Frison provided some history of college development. He also made a case for proceeding with conversion of the Parkland Building now. In brief, the investment in the Parkland Building would provide an important stimulus to the economy at a time when projects already underway are nearing completion.
New investments now would maintain the momentum. Also more training places to help meet the sustained demand for educated workers in the Manitoba economy would add to Brandon’s potential to attract other investments.
And finally, he noted that the timing was crucial as you have conditions here now that could be resolved if the relocation of ACC frees up space at the existing location that can be used to meet space demands from both the public and private sectors, which included the Brandon School Division.
Mr. Frison concluded his analysis with the suggestion that investment at the North Hill now and relocation of ACC would be of benefit to many players in Brandon and area.
It is incumbent upon us to seize the day and find the means to move this project forward, by completing the third stage and end the split campus that now exists.
I would encourage all of you to lobby the provincial government, and its MLAs, to get the job done.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 23, 2012