Fort Macleod has a spot picked out for Alberta’s new police college.
Town council Dec. 12 rezoned 320 acres in southeast Fort Macleod to police college direct control, from agricultural/industrial zoning.
“This is a big portion of the project,” Mayor Shawn Patience said. “That land is zoned agricultural and we have to rezone it to make it work. We don’t believe it’s going to have any negative impact on the adjacent land owners.”
Fort Macleod is one of more than 20 Alberta communities bidding to become the site for the new provincial police college.
Council gave first reading Nov. 28 to the zoning by-law for the south half of 6-9-25W4M and then advertised the public hearing held two weeks later in council chambers.
“I have not received any written responses,” said Lane McLaren, municipal manager for the Town of Fort Macleod. “No one has come in to the office, and I’ve had no phone calls.”
The police college will be the training site of an estimated 1,500 police and peace officers each year, and the facility is expected to be used for professional development and as a centre of excellence for police forces.
The college will create 100 permanent jobs in the community that wins the bid.
Adjacent land owners John and Joe Van Driesten attended the public hearing, not with objections but rather a desire to learn more about the project.
“Who’s first? Who’s last?” John Van Driesten asked. “What’s going to happen.”
The Van Driestens have a hog operation on their land and wanted some assurances their business won’t be affected by new neighbours complaining about the smell of the hogs.
McLaren said their land is zoned for agricultural purposes, and there will be no reason to change that zoning.
“I think the broad approach is it won’t affect anything anyone is doing there today,” Patience said.
The mayor told the Van Driestens the police college will change the area.
“It will be a different neighbour in the neighbourhood,” Patience said. “There will be more traffic.”
After reassuring the Van Driestens, McLaren told them change is inevitable.
“One of these days that land will be used for something other than agriculture,” McLaren said of the proposed police college site. “The use of that piece will change eventually, we hope.”
The Van Driestens offered council their support for the bid.
“The town needs something like this,” John Van Driesten said.
Following the public hearing, council gave second and third readings to the zoning by-law.