There is a defining moment in the DVD prepared as part of Fort Macleod’s bid for the Alberta Police and Peace Office Training Centre.
In one of a series of interviews with residents, councillor Christine Trowbridge makes a bold, declarative statement.
“The police college coming to Fort Macleod, is our destiny,” Trowbridge said.
Included last December as just one of many positive interviews in support of Fort Macleod’s bid for the $100-million police college, Trowbridge’s statement now stands out. Trowbridge said Saturday night, as people gathered at the community hall to celebrate the town’s successful bid, she did not make the comment lightly.
“It was just a gut feeling, something I discerned for Fort Macleod’s future,” Trowbridge explained in an interview. “It was kind of rolling around in me for several weeks when we started that bid.”
Trowbridge made a connection between Fort Macleod’s history with policing in Alberta, the future of law enforcement and the vision for excellence put forward by Solicitor General Harvey Cenaiko.
“This area is special,” Trowbridge said. “People will come from all over the world and Fort Macleod and the area will influence them for years to come. There is a spirit of excellence in Fort Macleod.”
Eighty-four-year-old Harry Urwin, a former town councillor who has lived in Fort Macleod since 1960, was also a believer.
“The naysayers said I was full of it, and maybe I am but I always said we were going to get the college,” Urwin said Saturday in an interview. “I’m a very optimistic person. I always look on the bright side. I never thought for a minute that we would not get it.”
Livingstone-Macleod MLA Dave Coutts on Saturday night agreed destiny played a role.
“Sometimes the stars just line up perfectly,” Coutts said.
The MLA, who calls Fort Macleod home pointed to the vision of Solicitor General Harvey Cenaiko for a world-class training centre, followed by the Conservative government’s support of that plan.
“Then you have a community that responded,” Coutts said of his home town.
Then, Coutts said, Mayor Shawn Patience, economic development officer Gordon MacIvor, town council and the police college task force stepped up to provide leadership.
“You know what makes it really, really successful, ladies and gentlemen?” Coutts added. “It’s you. Each and every one of you who supported all of the endeavours made sure that the stars were completely lined up.”
Coutts said had there not been support from the community the decision would not have gone in Fort Macleod’s favour.
“You showed your Alberta pride, but more importantly you showed your Fort Macleod pride,” Coutts said.
Crowsnest Pass Mayor John Irwin and his wife Noella attended the celebration Saturday night as a show of their community’s continued support.
“I think it’s fantastic,” Irwin said. “I think it will be a great shot in the arm for Fort Macleod, and I think this is the logical place to put the college.”
Irwin pointed to Fort Macleod’s location at the junction of Highways 2 and 3, council’s willingness to give the province free land and utility servicing, and the town’s proximity to Lethbridge Community College and its criminal justice program.
“I can’t think of a better place,” Irwin said.
Fort Macleod Mayor Shawn Patience readily shares credit for the town’s successful bid, stressing the importance of support from Crowsnest Pass and other southern towns.
“It took every single ounce of everyone’s resources,” Patience said. “This does not happen on the shoulder of one person.”
Patience told the audience Fort Macleod has set an example of how destiny can be fulfilled.
“Remember when someone says this can’t be done,” Patience said. “Remember the day that this town proved it can be done and we did it.”
Patience praised his council, MacIvor and task force for doing what needed to be done, for attending to the smallest of details in the bid effort.
“Of the final four, this was the only community that did it ourselves,” Patience said. “I’ll tell you what, there is a testament.”
Patience also credited the community for fulfilling the town’s destiny with a positive response to calls for letters of support and attendance at rallies.
“Each and every time that support came,” Patience said. “That is why we stand here today. Each and every person in this community did their part.”
Patience said the importance of the successful police college bid can’t be overstated.
“We have changed the course of Fort Macleod’s history for the better,” Patience said. “Fort Macleod is now the envy of every single town in Alberta.”
In his speech to the more than 500 people packed into the community hall on Saturday night, Dave Coutts agreed with Christine Trowbridge.
“The police college was our destiny, and it absolutely came true,” Coutts said, to thunderous applause. “It is our destiny.”