The Alberta Treasury Board will be asked in the next two months to release money to build the police college in Fort Macleod.
A town council delegation learned last week in Edmonton the Solicitor General has funding proposals ready for consideration.
“I haven’t lost one ounce of confidence,” Mayor Shawn Patience said. “This was the province’s initiative. The need hasn’t changed. The location hasn’t changed.”
Patience and councillors Mike Bourassa, Sharon Monical, Brian Reach, Christine Trowbridge and Gord Wolstenholme spent two days last week at the Alberta Legislature.
Their first stop was at the office of Solicitor General Fred Lindsay, under whose direction the Alberta Police and Peace Officers Training Centre is to be built.
“It was quite a good meeting,” Patience said.
The council delegation asked for news of the college, and what Fort Macleod could do to help the project move forward.
“All through this we’ve done everything we could think of,” Patience said, referring to the bid that led Fort Macleod to be selected in August 2006 as the site of the police college.
The province plans to build a world-class training centre a which 1,400 police and peace office recruits would be trained each year.
“This is a provincial project but the reality is this is an important project for our community,” Patience said. “It’s incumbent on us to give him (Lindsay) as much support as we can.”
To that end, after meeting with Lindsay the council delegation delivered a one-page summary of the project to each of the Alberta Treasury Board members.
The Fort Macleod group also talked to executive assistants of the Alberta cabinet ministers.
“I think it’s going to wake some people up,” said Patience, who was surprised to find a lack of awareness of the status of the police college project among some officials.
The message Fort Macleod delivered was that Fred Lindsay has the town’s full support, and that the project is important to the entire province.
“We have done everything we possibly can from our perspective to get this thing moving forward,” Patience said. “It’s a bit unfortunate we would have to get back into this (lobbying) mode for a project announced three years ago.”
The Fort Macleod delegation chose to go to Edmonton last week in advance of the release of the new provincial budget on April 7.
“We wanted to get up there in advance and raise the profile of the project, if it needed to be raised, and to support the solicitor general,” Patience said.
Patience understood the frustration Lindsay voiced to an Edmonton newspaper that the project must move forward, or be taken off the agenda.
“That’s not part of our vocabulary,” Patience said of the project being cancelled. “We’re there to find ways to make it go forward. I firmly believe it will. It doesn’t matter to us whether it’s a government build, a P3 or a hybrid.”
Council will now set up a meeting with Premier Ed Stelmach to once again voice support for the police college.
“This was just the beginning,” Patience said. “We’re not done by any means. We’re going to keep our foot on the pedal until police recruits start coming out of the college.”