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Task force makes final pitch for college

Fort Macleod Mayor Shawn Patience didn’t pull any punches Tuesday morning when he addressed the four people charged with picking a site for the police college.
Speaking at a reception in council chambers, Patience said the importance of the college to his community can’t be overstated.
“This is probably two of the most important hours in the 133 years of this community,” Patience said.
Members of Fort Macleod’s police college task force, along with other officials, met Tuesday with the MLA committee.
MLAs Ivan Strang, Mary Anne Jablonski, Fred Lindsay and Len Mitzel heard how the town put everything it could into the bid.
“We have offered the land, we have offered the services for the land,” Patience said. “We have offered to develop an area structure plan specifically suited to the needs of the training centre itself.”
Patience also stressed to the MLAs just how engaged in the process the community has been.
“The community has bought into the process, and has bought into the proposal,” Patience said. “Fort Macleod wants the centre, They’re ready to embrace it.”
The MLA review committee heard how communities in a regional economic alliance in southwestern Alberta supported Fort Macleod.
“Right from the very beginning everyone in our regional alliance knew Fort Macleod was the right place to situate this police college,” Patience said. “There was never any argument about it.”
In his presentation, Town of Fort Macleod economic development co-ordinator Gordon MacIvor stressed the historical perspective of his community’s bid.
“We here in Fort Macleod live the police culture,” MacIvor said. “It is in our blood. It is in our bones.”
As evidence, MacIvor told the MLA committee there are people living in Fort Macleod today who are direct descendants of the Mounties who made the trek west in 1874.
“The original police training was all done in Fort Macleod,” MacIvor added.
The establishment by the North West Mounted Police of the first post in what was then the North West Territories set a trend for the community.
“We believe Fort Macleod is a community of firsts,” MacIvor said, listing off the golf course, The Macleod Gazette, NWT Premier Haultain and the Empress Theatre as examples. MacIvor also pointed to the British Commonwealth Air Training Program base that was built in Fort Macleod during World War Two, as evidence of how the town would embrace the 1,500 recruits at the police college.
“Fort Macleod was a major base,” MacIvor said. Thousands of young men earned their wings and were shipped overseas.”
MacIvor told the committee how Fort Macleod reached out to the young pilots and air crew when it became clear the base could not provide adequate housing.
“The citizens of Fort Macleod took the young men in and made them part of their families,” he added.
Another factor in Fort Macleod’s favour, MacIvor said, is its central location at the junction of Highways 2 and 3.
“We are the crossroads of southern Alberta,” MacIvor said, noting Fort Macleod is just 90 minutes away from the international airport in Calgary, and 30 minutes away from Lethbridge.
MacIvor also stressed how putting the college in Fort Macleod fits with the province’s rural development strategy.
“Fort Macleod needs and requires the government’s support,” MacIvor said.
Stasha Donahue, a member of Fort Macleod’s police college task force, spoke of the strong community engagement in the bid as a positive factor.
“One of the things we have as a strength . . . is a history of being collaborative and working together, which is unique,” said Donahue, who works in Chinook Health’s population health department.
Donahue pointed to the Fort Macleod Society for Kids First, which runs a breakfast program at local schools, as an example of the strong social core.
The Fort Macleod Health Centre, which houses the physicians’ clinic as well as emergency, lab, x-ray and other services is another strong point, she added.
“Fort Macleod is very innovative,” Donahue said.
Jim Monteith represented Livingstone-Macleod MLA Dave Coutts, who left Monday for an 11-day trade mission to Japan and Korea in his role as sustainable resource development minister.
“He recognizes how important this decision that is being made is,” Monteith told the committee.
However, planning for the trip began 10 months ago and Coutts was unable to change his plans to attend the MLAs’ visit.
“We have spoken many times about sustaining rural communities, how important it is, and how it can happen,” Monteith said, reading a statement on behalf of Coutts.
In his statement, Coutts said the Alberta police college in Fort Macleod would fit with the province’s rural development strategy.
“Fort Macleod is well-positioned for the college,” Monteith said, with a ready labour force.

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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