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Macleod’s police college bid in province’s hands

Fort Macleod’s bid for the new police college, which drew on resources and people from every corner of the community, and which has the support of southwestern Alberta, is in the hands of the provincial government.

The whirlwind process in which Fort Macleod compiled a comprehensive bid in response to the government’s request for land procurement ended Wednesday when the mayor and other local officials delivered the package to the office of Solicitor General Harvey Cenaiko.

Now comes what may be the toughest part of the process Ñ waiting until spring to find out which of more than 20 communities in the running will be selected.

“We do believe we will be successful,” Mayor Shawn Patience said. “That’s our position going in. I think we’ve got an excellent bid put together.”

The provincial government announced earlier this year it will build a new police college at which an estimated 1,500 police and peace officers will be trained each year.

More than 30 Alberta communities responded to the government’s initial call for bids for the college, which is to be built on a site of more than 300 acres and will create an estimated 100 permanent jobs in the community.

Then came the province’s request for land procurement and the requirement for a comprehensive bid package that identifies a potential site, outlines infrastructure such as sewer and water, and discusses how the community intends to engage the police college in everyday life.

“Nothing like this comes easily,” said Patience, who last month struck a task force of Fort Macleod residents to prepare the bid and address the questions to which the provincial government wanted a response.

The key component of the bid was put in place Dec. 12, just two days before the bid package was delivered to Edmonton by Patience, economic development officer Gordon MacIvor, Coun. Christine Trowbridge and Coun. Mike Bourassa.

That key component was a 320-acre site in southeast Fort Macleod that is the proposed location for the police college. At its regular council meeting Dec. 12, council gave second and third readings to a by-law to rezone the land to police college direct control, from agricultural/industrial.

At that Dec. 12 meeting, council had a look at the bid package, which consisted of a huge binder containing information about the site, the community, and how Fort Macleod intends to engage staff and recruits at the police college in everyday life.

“We thought we would go very visual, just so the senior administration can get a picture,” said MacIvor, explaining why the task force created the package in the way it did.

The first part of the binder deals with the request for land procurement the proposed site and the servicing it requires.

The latter part of the binder is dedicated to community engagement, with photos illustrating life in Fort Macleod and essays discussing such parts of community life as health care, recreation, the commercial and retail sectors, education, and hotel and motel accommodation.

“The RFP (request for land procurement) we tried to track it question by question,” MacIvor said.

The binder also contains letters of support from more than 30 communities in southwestern Alberta, including those from leaders of the Blood Tribe and Piikani Nation.

“It’s a tremendous show of strength,” MacIvor said. “I think southern Alberta’s real bid is coming out of Fort Macleod.”

The task force then went a step further in its quest to give the package a visual element that will make Fort Macleod’s bid stand out from the rest.

“The second thing they did was a DVD,” said MacIvor, referring to an electronic information package containing images of the community as well as interviews with community leaders and residents expressing their support for the police college being built in Fort Macleod.

Much of the filming and interviewing was done on Santa Claus Parade weekend, and includes images from the rally on Main Street immediately prior to the parade.

There are interviews with residents, including Alain Dubreuil, Cynthia Temoin, Bob Ripley, Bill Hart and Barb Vallance, as well as community leaders such as Patience and councillors Christine Trowbridge, Brian Reach and Ken Williams.

Concluding the video are interviews with Grade 1 students, who list many of Fort Macleod’s assets, including the Empress Theatre, Fort Museum and arena.

“We’ll be No. 1,” MacIvor boldly predicted of Fort Macleod’s bid.

Patience agreed that is the goal, and reflected on the cover letter he wrote for the bid package.

“I had a hard time writing it,” Patience admitted. “It’s very important.”

Patience praised council, members of the task force and the Town of Fort Macleod staff, as well as the community at large for supporting the bid and pitching in when asked to help with the bid package.

“When we started this we made a concerted effort to make sure that it was the best bid we could put forward, that we left nothing on the table,” Patience said. “It would not have happened without all of them.”

“It’s been a real community effort,” the mayor added. “We have absolutely, without question, put our best foot forward.”

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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

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