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Mayor weathers police college criticism

Fort Macleod isn’t concerned with criticism of the province’s decision to build the Alberta Police and Peace Officer Training Centre here.

Mayor Shawn Patience said he isn’t surprised to hear some grumbling.

“It didn’t matter who won this, there was going to be some of that,” Patience said Saturday in an interview.

Solicitor General Harvey Cenaiko’s decision has been criticized by members of both the Edmonton and Calgary police services who say the college should be in a more central location.

Patience said the government deserves praise not criticism for its decision to build the college in the southern part of the province.

“Development in the province doesn’t need to be in a corridor eight miles wide between Calgary and Edmonton,” Patience said.

Building the college in southern Alberta will give this part of the province an economic boost, he added.

“This is good for everybody,” Patience said. “They don’t need any additional pressures from growth in Red Deer, and Camrose is already experiencing phenomenal growth.”

Red Deer County, Camrose and Lac La Biche were the other finalists for the college from an original list of 30 bids.

The mayor of Crowsnest Pass also defends the decision to build the police college in Fort Macleod.

“Let’s face it,” Dr. John Irwin said Saturday. “There’s a lot of government programs that go to northern communities. We haven’t had a lot of economic stimulation from a major government program in the south.”

Irwin said the presence of the $100-million college with its estimated 75 to 100 permanent jobs and influx of 1,500 recruits each year will be good for the entire region.

“Absolutely. This was the first area of the province to be settled and it’s been kind of dwindling of late,” Irwin said. “We need some stimulation in rural Alberta. We need it in the south. I think it is absolutely fantastic the college is coming to Fort Macleod.”

Later in the evening in a speech delivered from the community hall stage, Irwin laughed that the police college is better suited to Fort Macleod with its policing history, than to the Crowsnest Pass, which is known for “bootlegging and rum-running.”

“It’s the right thing, at the right time, in the right place,” Irwin said of building the police college in Fort Macleod.

Patience also shrugged off the comments of newspaper columnists critical of the decision.

“Even the bad articles are bringing interest in the community,” Patience said.

The majority of the feedback the town office has received has been positive, the mayor added.

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Index of Police College Stories - Listed by release date in Gazette

Apr 24 - Fort Macleod town council is planning for the future

Jan 10 - Province gives Fort Macleod $10.26-million for police college costs

Sep 11 - Wildrose Party will fight for Fort Macleod

Sep 04 - Fort Macleod residents devastated by decision to scrap police college

Sep 04 - Fort Macleod asks premier to reverse college decision

Sep 03 - Fort Macleod calls on premier to reverse police college decision

Aug 29 - Residents of Fort Macleod punished for voting Wildrose

Aug 29 - Wildrose says Fort Macleod victim of Tory fiscal incompetence

Aug 29 - Government cancels funding for police training college

Aug 28 - Council awards police college permit

Aug 01 - Police training facility will be unique in Canada

Nov 01 - Province approves grant for police college infrastructure

Oct 19 - Target schedule is set to build police college

Sep 27 - Stakeholders convene to discuss police college

Aug 24 - Police college sod-turning ‘a great day for Fort Macleod’

Aug 16 - Police college sod-turning Mon. Aug. 22

Jul 26 - Fort Macleod puts more cash toward college

May 17 - Province moving ahead with police college plans

May 03 - Council okays transfer of police college land

Apr 05 - Police college site work could start in summer

Dec 01 - Macleod finds way to build police college

Dec 01 - Macleod pitches co-op to build police college

Nov 30 - Macleod feels positive about police college

Aug 25 - Police college partner possible

Aug 18 - Council works on own plan for police college

Jul 07 - Calgary project no threat to police college

Jun 09 - Mayor pushes solicitor general for collect action

Mar 31 - Macleod’s neighbours support police college

Mar 31 - Mayor says government just has to make college a priority

Dec 30 - MD council writes to support police college

Dec 02 - Southern Alberta backs police college

Nov 25 - Regional group lobbies for police college

Sep 23 - Police college has not been shelved — yet

Jul 29 - Mayor: ‘Police college project not cancelled’

May 06 - Infrastructure minister says college a priority

Apr 22 - Facebook page supports police college

Apr 01 - Council lobbies for progress on police college

Feb 18 - Solicitor General urges police college patience

Nov 04 - Police college discussed during Question Period

Nov 04 - Macleod mayor confident police college is coming

Oct 21 - Fort Macleod ‘anxious’ for police college start

Apr 16 - Province gets nine police college proposals

Mar 12 - Macleod can do business with police college

Sep 05 - Province reviews police college P3 proposals

Jun 26 - Police college Web site created

Jun 06 - Police college project is on track

May 30 - Police college officials visit Fort Macleod

May 23 - Police college headlines open house

Mar 28 - Solicitor General: ‘Police college is coming to Macleod’

Jan 31 - Mayor strikes police college committee

Nov 22 - Steering committee meets to discuss police college

Sep 13 - Opportunity knocking for Fort Macleod

Sep 13 - Macleod prepares to guide growth

Sep 13 - Police college is Fort Macleod’s destiny

Sep 13 - Mayor weathers police college criticism

Sep 13 - Fort Macleod celebrates successful college bid

Sep 06 - Fort Macleod lands Alberta police college

Sep 06 - P3 partners sought for police college

Sep 06 - Police training centre will be world-class

Dec 21 - Council designates land for police college

Dec 21 - Macleod’s police college bid in province’s hands

Nov 23 - Task force builds police college bid

Nov 02 - Council still pursuing college