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Mayor: ‘Police college project not cancelled’

Reports of the death of the police college project have been greatly exaggerated, according to Fort Macleod Mayor Shawn Patience. Patience said some people over-reacted last week to comments by Alberta Liberal leader David Swann the police college topped a list of projects on the chopping block.

“There is no reason this project won’t move forward,” Patience said Friday. “It was just Mr. Swann speculating and it has no grounds in fact.”

Swann said last week that with Alberta’s deficit growing and Premier Ed Stelmach vowing not to raise taxes, the government will have to cut spending.

Swann provided a list of projects that could potentially be cut, with the Alberta Police and Peace Officer Training Centre topping that list.

“The premier’s out of control spending has put Albertans in a tough spot,” Swann said in a news release. “He needs to find $10-billion — and counting — to eliminate the deficit. What’s he going to cut? Is he going to implement huge user fees? Will decisions be based on facts or politics?”

Other projects Swann speculated could be cut included the Calgary Remand Centre; the Stollery Children’s Hospital emergency expansion; the QE II Hospital expansion in Grande Prairie; long-term care facilities in Didsbury and Fort McMurray; the Barrhead health centre; and the North Calgary diagnostic and treatment centre.

Swann also speculated the province could cut funding for additional learning spaces and student housing in post-secondary institutions; income supports and job retraining programs; Alberta Foundation for the Arts funding and grant programs; nursing positions and environmental monitoring of industrial sites.

Swann also speculated the South Calgary Hospital will not be completely finished; the Royal Alex active treatment centre will not be upgraded and renovations will not be done to the Medicine Hat Hospital.

“These programs, services and facilities are all crucial to Alberta’s health, prosperity and future,” Swann says. “The sheer scale of the Stelmach administration’s mismanagement has placed that future in jeopardy.”

Swann said Albertans may also find themselves paying for all or a portion of their diagnostic tests like MRIs, CT scans, and some blood tests.

“We don’t know what the premier may choose to cut,” Swann added. “What’s important to remember is that cuts are coming and there will be consequences with them.”

Patience said Swann was just doing his job as leader of the Official Opposition.

“It was strictly speculation on what could happen,” Patience said.

That speculation caused a small fire storm in Fort Macleod as people misinterpreted the story to believe the police college project was cancelled.

“I still fully expect this thing to go forward,” Patience said. “Mr. Stelmach has committed to it on three or four occasions. This community has to bank on the fact he has committed to it.”

Patience said support for a police college has not wavered since the recommendation came out in 1999 from the Alberta Justice Summit. Then-Solicitor General Harvey Cenaiko announced in August 2006 that Fort Macleod had been selected as the site of the police college.

“We’re still very committed to the project and so is the province,” Patience said. “I fully expect it to get funding sooner rather than later.”

The police college, whose budget estimates soared over three years to more than $200-million from $110-million, stalled because the province could not find a suitable private-public partnership.

The province continues to work to find a way to fund the police college.

“I don’t think there is any sentiment out there that we don’t need this training centre,” Patience said, citing growing concerns such as gang violence.

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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