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Police college sod-turning Mon. Aug. 22

Monday, Aug. 22 is the day for which people in Fort Macleod have been
waiting for five years.
The province will turn the sod at 11 a.m. for the $122-million Alberta
Public Security and Law Enforcement Training Centre.
“It’s great,” Fort Macleod Chamber of Commerce president Srecko Ponjavic
said. “Obviously the sooner the better. This is the event that people
have been waiting to see. It’s the event that’s going to be the trigger
for investment in Fort Macleod.”
Town of Fort Macleod economic development officer Martin Ebel also
welcomed the news.
“I’m thrilled,” Ebel said. “I think it’s absolutely fantastic news.”
Livingstone-Macleod MLA Evan Berger announced Monday that Infrastructure
Minster Ray Danyluk and Solicitor General Frank Oberle will conduct the
ceremony at the college site.
Lunch and refreshments will be served following the sod-turning at the
site, 2.1 kilometres south on Highway 2 from the junction of Highway 2
and Highway 3.
“This is when the promise turns into reality,” Ponjavic said. “This is
huge, Any time that you drop that kind of money and investment into a
community this size, it’s absolutely huge. It’s going to be a catalyst
for growth.”
Mayor Shawn Patience has been involved with the police college project
since 2005 and Monday said the sod-turning was another important step.
“It’s something we’ve been waiting for for quite a while,” Patience
said. “I’m happy to see it move forward.”
Patience said events such as the Town of Fort Macleod transferring to
the province the 320 acres on which the police college will be built;
the sod-turning ceremony and the actual construction are all important.
“It’s been a long time coming and perhaps the sod-turning is somewhat
anticlimactic for some, but it is good to see none the less,” Patience
said. “I think it’s important to get some work done on the site.”
The plan laid out by Oberle is to train 250 police recruits, 250
Sheriffs and Corrections officers, 250 community peace officers and 600
professional development students each year.
The plan in 2006 was to train 400 full-time recruits and 1,000
professional development students each year.
The college will include a residence that can house 270 students. That’s
down from the capacity of 380 students in the original plans.
The facility will include classrooms, a shooting range, a driving track,
gymnasium, running track and eating facilities.
Ponjavic said the investment by other people in Fort Macleod will begin
immediately.
“I think it starts now,” Ponjavic said. “The thing with the police
college is it has been promised, promised, promised, but with no action.”
The government first announced in August 2006 Fort Macleod had been
selected as the site of the police college, following an intense bidding
process.
In subsequent years the project stalled as the government failed to
attract a company willing to take on the entire cost of the project.
Last February Premier Ed Stelmach came to Fort Macleod and said the
government would fund the entire $122-million and build the police
college on its own.
In March, the government announced the money was in the budget over a
three-year period.
Ebel said the sod-turning will send a positive message to people inside
and outside the community.
“I think it’s excellent new,” Ebel said. “I know that in the town there
has been a fair bit of scepticism that the project is moving ahead.”
Ebel said while there has been considerable work on the project since
March it has not been visible to the public. The sod-turning is one more
important milestone.
“It’s a commitment,” Ponjavic agreed. “It’s a firm commitment. They
wouldn’t be turning the sod if they didn’t have the money in place and
weren’t committed to building it.”
Ebel agreed.
“I think it will send the right signal,” Ebel said.
Added Patience: “It’s another step forward and another step behind us in
a long journey. Every step forward is good.”
Buoyed by the province’s clear intention to build the police college,
investors will spring into action, Ponjavic and Ebel predicted.
“If people wait until the college is already built they miss a ton of
growth,” Ponjavic explained. “I think this is what everyone is waiting
for — the shovel in the ground.”

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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