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Mayor pushes solicitor general for collect action

When Solicitor General Frank Oberle opened his mail earlier this week, he discovered the mayor of Fort Macleod is on his trail again. Mayor Shawn Patience sent a letter to Oberle Monday asking why the town has heard nothing from the province since the March meeting at the Empress Theatre.

“We agreed after Oberle was at the theatre that we would wait two months and see what has transpired, but we’ve heard nothing,” Patience said. “So I have spent the last four weeks drafting a four-page letter, which went out Monday.”

Patience asks in the letter, “While at our theatre you pledged to get this project in front of the treasury board and to do all that you could to move it forward, so we would like to ask what has been done since our meetings to move this project forward?”

Since it appears the answer to that question is “nothing,” the mayor and council have set before Oberle a request in the letter.

“We would ask you to consider setting up a project steering committee to get this facility built, similar to the training centre technical committee we were previously involved with, a group that met many times over the years. This building committee could include yourself, members from your department, associated police and enforcement agencies along with members from our council or community.”

Patience is skeptical that the delay in building the police college is actually a matter of lack of funding.

“This has now seemingly become an issue of political will and internal politics,” Patience wrote to Oberle. “With $6-billion in new capital funding in the latest budget and nothing allocated to the centre, the issue has become one of more than money.”

Patience points out to the solicitor general the province has sent mixed messages to Fort Macleod over the funding issue.

“We had long been told that if the formula for a P3 didn’t prove viable that this project could still end up as a traditional government build . . . yet the province now seems to be attempting to change history by stating that they were never going to put any funding towards the project and that it had to be self sustaining.”

“And yet since 2006 we have been told that the delays were a result of the government having limited funding available. These two stances are in direct conflict with each other, so outside of comments made by a few ministers, are there any motions on the books to suggest that the government would never fund this project, since our former MLA openly states that the government was always aware that a financial commitment would be required?”

Patience told Oberle the P3 framework also demonstrates that a government P3 partnership requires either a funding commitment or a guarantee from the province.

“So why does the province now believe that this project should be any different than a P3 project for a highway or school, both of which require either a funding commitment or a guarantee from the province?” Patience asked.

Patience concluded the letter with another appeal to the province to make good its promise, telling the solicitor general of the betrayal Fort Macleod is feeling, and reminding him that the PC government will be held accountable for making a promise it has not kept.

“Will the province fulfill this vital commitment, does it have the moral capacity and political will to keep their promise?” Patience wrote. “It is a question that will not only be answered here, but it also will be answered in full view of all Albertans. You need to understand that because of the importance of this project, our council, our community, and our region, will do all we can to ensure this commitment is fulfilled and that the government is held accountable for its promises. It’s also important to point out that we are also more than willing to work with the province to bring this process to a successful conclusion.”

Patience reminded Oberle that during the March session at the Empress Theatre Oberle committed to move the project forward.

“May we also suggest enlisting the help of the premier, who, while visiting our community, readily committed his support for the centre during both his leadership bid and during the last provincial election,” Patience wrote. “This was a commitment that our area’s citizens did not take lightly, nor should you or he. We ask you, what if this was your town? Or your constituency, or the premier’s? How would any of you respond when put in our position?”

Patience told the solicitor general Fort Macleod residents now feel strongly they being punished for a great victory and confidence in government is eroding.

“It’s time that the premier’s support, and yours, was turned into a positive outcome for this community and area, and for your government,” Patience wrote. “Mr. Minister, Mr. Premier, simply put, it’s time to build the training centre.”

Copies of the letter were sent to Premier Ed Stelmach, Livingstone-Macleod MLA Evan Berger, Finance Minister Ted Morton, Treasury Board President Lloyd Snelgrove, and Justice Minister Allison Redford.

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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