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Police college has not been shelved — yet

The police college is not moving ahead as fast as Fort Macleod would like, but the province has not shelved the project.

Mayor Shawn Patience said Monday there has been no indication from the province the police college won’t be built as soon as funding is in place.

“No one has said it’s on hold yet,” Patience said.

Patience sought reassurance last week after Alberta Justice Minister Alison Redford told reporters the project could be delayed further by the province’s budget crunch.

The mayor said while the project may be delayed, Premier Ed Stelmach confirmed in a letter earlier this month the police college project is very much alive.

“I recognize your frustration with the length of time this project has taken,” Stelmach wrote in a letter to Patience. “However, we are committed to completing a thorough assessment of this project and future options for its successful completion.”

When Patience heard Redford’s comments last week he phoned Stelmach.

“He said, ‘Yeah, we’ll talk’,” Patience said.

Patience said Monday it is all of southern Alberta that is frustrated the police college, which was awarded in August 2006 to Fort Macleod, is not yet under construction.

“They’re going to have to step up and find a funding formula that works,” Patience said. “I think it’s time we moved this thing forward. I don’t think the need for policing is getting any less.”

The police college project has been delayed by the province’s inability to set up a private-public (P3) partnership.

“The province needs to make the financial commitment to the project,” Patience said. “Until they do they’re not going to get a P3 partner.”

When it was announced the police college, where 1,400 police and peace officer recruits will be trained every year, was estimated to cost $110-million. Projections later escalated to more than $200-million. Last week Liberal justice critic Kent Hehr blamed the lack of progress on the police college on the “incompetence” of the Stelmach government. “It looks like the Tories consider law and order to be a luxury item,” Hehr said in a news release.

The Stelmach government is forecasting a record $6.9-billion deficit this fiscal year, and a $4.4-billion shortfall next year based on finding another $2 billion in savings.

Patience said the province’s present financial woes should not slow the police college project.

“We just went through some fairly affluent times in this province,” Patience said. “The fact we hit a little bump should be no reason to turn this project around.”

Patience agreed with Hehr that Livingstone-Macleod MLA Evan Berger could be more outspoken in support of the project.

“It’s time our MLA got involved in this,” Patience said. “We haven’t heard anything from him — good or bad. It would be nice to see our MLA bring it up in the Legislature. This is the most important thing we have going.”

Town council will start a push to have the government include the police college in the 2010 provincial budget.

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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