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Southern Alberta backs police college

Southern Alberta made its support known last week for the Alberta Police and Peace Officer Training Centre to be built in Fort Macleod. A delegation of 17 elected and municipal officials travelled to the Alberta Legislature to urge the province to get construction of the college under way.

“The show of regional support was very important and we certainly hope the trip will get the project kick-started,” Fort Macleod Mayor Shawn Patience said.

The group travelled from Fort Macleod to Edmonton by bus on Nov. 24 for a meeting Wednesday in the Alberta Legislature.

The delegation, which included people from Fort Macleod, Crowsnest Pass, Pincher Creek, Brocket, Coalhurst, Granum, Claresholm, Stavely and Lethbridge met with Finance Minister Iris Evans and Solicitor General Fred Lindsay.

“It was a good meeting and we were grateful for the opportunity,” Patience said.

At the meeting set up by Livingstone-Macleod MLA Evan Berger, the delegation reminded the politicians the Conservative government in August 2006 made a commitment to southern Alberta to build the police college in Fort Macleod.

A strong bid package that included huge community and regional support helped Fort Macleod win the bid.

The college, where 1,400 police and peace officer recruits will be trained each year, will create 75 to 100 permanent jobs.

In addition to training of recruits, the police college was also touted as a world-class training centre that would provide professional development for peace officers from around the world.

The project has since stalled due to a lack of funding. The province was not able to attract a P3 partner to build the facility.

The delegation stressed to Evans and Lindsay that it is time for action.

“We stressed that we need to get this project on a time-table, on a capital plan,” Patience said.

The delegation suggested the Alberta Capital Bonds proposed by Premier Ed Stelmach would be a good way to fund the police college.

“Using bonds is certainly a plausible alternative or we need the province to make a financial commitment as a lessor in order to find a private investor,” Patience said.

Patience told the cabinet ministers Fort Macleod is one-third of the private-public partnership, having committed $3.5-million worth of infrastructure, a quarter section of land and thousands of dollars for costs related to engineering as well as the successful bid.

“We have made a substantial financial commitment to this project . . . not to mention the immeasurable amount of time and energy spent winning the bid and pushing this project forward,” Patience said.

Following the meeting with Evans and Lindsay, Berger made sure all the cabinet ministers and MLAs were aware of southern Alberta’s support for the police college.

Berger arranged to have each member of the delegation individually introduced in the Legislature during Question Period.

“We were all introduced to the Legislature, which I think did a lot to show the members how important this project was, and how much regional support there was for it,” Patience said.

Although the politicians made no firm commitments, except to express their continued commitment for the project in Fort Macleod, the delegation came home convinced the trip was worthwhile.

“We all left optimistic and hopeful of a solution to get this project off the ground,” Patience said. “We’ve been patiently waiting but the time has come for a solution and to show our region some light at the end of the tunnel. We’re excited to see what fruit bears from the effort and I can’t thank my regional supporters enough.”

The southern Alberta delegation in support of the Alberta Police and Peace Officer Training Centre, from left: Fort Macleod Coun. Brian Reach, Granum Mayor Melva Stinson, Fort Macleod Coun. Gord Wolstenholme, Stavely Mayor Barry Johnson, MD of Willow Creek Reeve Henry Van Hierden, Crowsnest Pass Mayor John Irwin, Livingstone-Macleod MLA Evan Berger, Piikani Nation Coun. Jordan No Chief, Fort Macleod Coun. Sharon Monical, Fort Macleod Mayor Shawn Patience, Claresholm Mayor Rob Steele, Coalhurst Mayor Dennis Cassie, Fort Macleod Coun. Christine Trowbridge, Lethbridge College President Tracy Edwards and Larry Lux of Lethbridge Economic Development. Missing from picture are Pincher Creek Mayor Gary Mills, Town of Fort Macleod municipal manager Barry Elliott and economic development officer Martin Ebel.

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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