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Opportunity knocking for Fort Macleod

With Fort Macleod’s population expected to grow by 30 to 60 per cent, opportunities are limitless.

That was the message Mayor Shawn Patience brought to Fort Macleod Chamber of Commerce’s monthly meeting last week.

Close to 20 local business leaders attended to meeting in the Green Room of the Empress Theatre last Thursday.

“Fort Macleod was already in the midst of a growth spurt and that was going to continue whether we were successful or not,” Patience said in reference to last month’s announcement Fort Macleod would host the Alberta Police and Peace Officer Training Centre. “However this particular project is going to drive and increase that very prolifically.”

Patience said the town office had already been inundated with calls from out-of-town investment firms and individuals wanting to buy or set up businesses and buy or build homes in the community.

“That is something we’ve never had before,” Patience said. “It’s an exciting challenge but one that takes planning so that while in the midst of development we don’t lose what we have and that we can build upon it.”

Patience said while Fort Macleod will see outside investors come into town over the next one or two years to set up shop, there are also opportunities for those who have grown up or lived here.

“They are far-reaching in the service sector,” Patience said, pointing to the need for more hotel and motel space and other opportunities such as entertainment and the restaurant industry.

“If they believe there’s an opportunity to invest, now is the time to do that rather than waiting until the college comes,” Patience said. “That will put you way at the back of the line.

The opportunities are out there and I want you to identify them.”

As an example of one such opportunity Patience said with 1,500 trainees here each year there is an excellent opportunity for a dry-cleaning business in town again.

“We’ve got a lot of smart individuals, a lot of industrious individuals in this community and there are certainly lots of avenues for opportunity,” he said. “It’s incumbent upon us to take advantage of some of the opportunities now in front of us so we can not only benefit as a town but also as local investors. A lot of people have gone through periods of very little opportunity for advancement and now it’s right in front of us.”

Patience said the construction of the training centre along with the changes to the highway in the next three to five years will present opportunities no one has ever imagined.

“It’s time to put your thinking caps on, do your homework and look for the opportunities,” he said.

Patience reported several other changes will be seen around town, including some policy shifts for town council that will see commercial and residential land policies tightened up.

The proposed 36-lot subdivision on the east end of town by Macleod Pioneer Lodge already has 32 letters of intent and Patience said council must be cautious how they deal with them. “It’s not our intent to use tax dollars to provide services for residential properties and then have them sit there for a year before anyone considers developing them,” he said. Patience also said development near the golf course may also go ahead soon and that there has been a lot of interest in industrial and light industrial properties, something the town has not experienced recently.

“Fort Macleod is on the provincial map even moreso than we were with our history and we are seeing investors call us from Ontario to B.C.,” he said. “It’s a very exciting time and we have a lot to look forward to.”

The town will also have to look after some infrastructure issues, including a new water treatment facility, which are all a part of where Patience sees Fort Macleod down to the line, with a population of between 4,500 and 5,000.

“Fort Macleod has been put on the map like never before,” he said. “To say it’s an exciting time in Fort Macleod is a serious understatement. The opportunities are boundless.”

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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