CANstruc­tion teams to test their metal


Lethbridge Herald - - HOMETOWN NEWS | SOUTHERN ALBERTA - Dave Ma­bell dma­bell@leth­bridge­ Fol­low @DMa­bel­lHer­ald on Twit­ter

In an age of freezer packs and fresh veg­eta­bles year-round, the hum­ble “tin can” may seem a relic from the hey­day of gen­eral stores.

But canned goods still have a place in the fam­ily’s pantry — and in com­mu­nity food banks across the na­tion. In Leth­bridge, those cans will also raise cash and aware­ness of the vi­tal ser­vice those agen­cies pro­vide.

Now in its sev­enth year, “CANstruc­tion” will see lo­cal teams at­tempt to build the most imag­i­na­tive struc­tures in­doors — en­tirely of canned food.

“This year we’ll have four high school teams tak­ing part,” re­ports Bill Smienk, speak­ing for the or­ga­niz­ers. The stu­dents will be com­pet­ing against teams from Leth­bridge Col­lege and other con­struc­tion-re­lated groups.

After draw­ing up their plans, teams from var­i­ous lo­cal in­dus­tries will con­verge on Cen­tre Vil­lage Mall on March 1 to build their canned goods cre­ations. But first, Smienk says, the plans will be scru­ti­nized by event of­fi­cials for such es­sen­tials as struc­tural sta­bil­ity.

Teams are also lim­ited to max­i­mum num­bers on var­i­ous-sized cans, he adds.

“We’ll help them with the ex­per­tise,” says Smienk, chair of the col­lege’s engi­neer­ing tech­nol­ogy pro­gram.

The cre­ations are “kind of a mix­ture of art and engi­neer­ing,” he says.

Teams have just one day — March 1 — to build their struc­ture, as shop­pers and spec­ta­tors look on. From then un­til March 29, vis­i­tors will be in­vited to vote for the struc­ture of their choice.

They’ll also be asked to bring cans or non-per­ish­able food items in re­turn for the bal­lot. Cash will also be wel­comed.

At month’s end, the “peo­ple’s choice” and judges’ top-placed teams will re­ceive awards at the project wind-up. Win­ners may also move up to re­gional or na­tional level com­pe­ti­tions if they meet all the re­quire­ments, Smienk says.

All the do­nated food will be shared by the In­ter­faith Food Bank, the Leth­bridge Food Bank and the col­lege stu­dent as­so­ci­a­tion’s own food bank, he points out.

The Leth­bridge com­pe­ti­tion has been held at Cen­tre Vil­lage since its start, he says. But some peo­ple may have missed it more re­cently while the shop­ping mall was un­der ren­o­va­tion.

Smienk ex­pects more vis­i­tors will come by this year, to see how the event has grown lo­cally and across North Amer­ica.

“Some of the en­tries are sim­ply amaz­ing.”

Her­ald file photo by Ian Martens

Colton Starker and the team from the Leth­bridge Col­lege School of Engi­neer­ing Tech­nol­ogy cre­ate a gi­ant birth­day cake can struc­ture as part of last year’s CANstruc­tion event at Cen­tre Vil­lage Mall. @IMarten­sHer­ald

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