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Fort Macleod town council is planning for the future

Shawn Patience

Mayor Shawn Patience

SHAWN PATIENCE – GAZETTE CONTRIBUTOR
The Police College saga finally came to an end when we received the provincial government’s compensation cheque for $10.2-million.
While this was not the ending many of us had worked so hard for during the past seven years, we certainly have some new possibilities and opportunities in front of us as a result.
Our council and staff are moving forward as quickly as we can with developing the former college property into our newest business and industrial area to take advantage of those new service lines, with the goal of attracting new industry to our community to fill the void after the college cancellation.
Even though the design and engineering of the area is just being completed, we have already received interest from prospective businesses and see that as a very good sign. The job potential on this easily accessible, well located 320-acre site could far exceed the employment that would have come with the training centre, so all is certainly far from lost.
There will always be some who choose to take a negative approach but that can often prove to be counter-productive and negate the hard work of a lot of people who believe in what this community has to offer. If you ever have a question of concern feel free to share that with us, that’s what your council and staff are here for. The glass is more than half full and I’m excited about what the future holds. It’s in working together that we will succeed and take advantage of our opportunities.
While the cheque was welcome, council has asked me to again explain that those funds are not necessarily free and clear. The reimbursement was to recover or pay for expenditures related to the training centre, including about $5.4-million that was used to pay for the major service lines to the site, which we will certainly employ in the new business park and in eastside expansion.
Almost $1-million was used to pay our remaining portion of the waste water plant, which saved us from borrowing those funds as planned. $600,000 was put back into our land sales reserve to cover land purchases related to the project. $3.4-million of the reimbursement replaces grant funding we expended on the waste water plant and can be re-designated to other projects, and will be, since we are forced to make $2.4-million in major modifications to our water treatment plant to meet new treatment requirements. We will also be incurring costs in servicing the new industrial area on the former college site and the new subdivision behind Extra Foods and are currently exploring a full scale marketing strategy to support these new developments.
We continue to move forward with our capital plan, with some changes. We had committed $3.8-million to the service lines which was to be funded from our reserves and debentures. Those reserves will now stay with us and the debt is no longer required. With the funds we invested in preparing for the training centre now returned to us we have certainty that we haven’t had for a number of years in terms of capital planning and can now deal with some of the major items on our capital list. While there are no new additions to our capital plan, some items can now be addressed sooner than we may have been able to otherwise, including the $2.4-million refurbishing of three blocks on 20th Street, which I’m sure will be welcome by many.
We will be making some minor adjustments to our municipal development plan now that the college is behind us, but the plan was designed to be flexible and we were well prepared to make adjustments if necessary. We are moving forward and as a town we will be well placed to do so. We will soon have new or fully upgraded water and waste water treatment facilities, service infrastructure to support decades of growth on our east side, upgraded municipal facilities and serviced property available for commercial, residential and industrial growth far into the future. Our goal is to ensure we achieve this while maintaining a strong financial position, carrying minimal debt and as always, keeping the burden on our taxpayers to a minimum.
In recognition of Volunteer Week, I want to thank everyone for their ongoing support of the volunteer functions that are so integral to our community’s success. Fort Macleod and area are blessed to have people that take such great pride in our community and who aren’t scared to roll up their sleeves to make a difference. It is the positive efforts of these individuals and groups that continue to make this such a great place to live. Again, many thanks and keep up the good work.
(Shawn Patience is mayor of Fort Macleod.)

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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