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Volunteer effort carried Macleod bid

The work of a volunteer task force that created a comprehensive bid has Fort Macleod among the finalists to host the $100-million Alberta police college.

Fort Macleod Mayor Shawn Patience is optimistic the task force’s work will pay off next month when Solicitor General Harvey Cenaiko announces where the college will be built. “We’ve put our absolute best effort forward,” Patience said Monday. “We knew it was a good bid, and that has played out.”

Fort Macleod’s charge kicked in last fall when Patience picked up a fax at the town office. The solicitor general asked 300 Alberta communities to consider making a bid.

“I remember that day very vividly,” Patience said Monday during a telephone interview.

Patience quickly dialed the number of Gordon MacIvor, economic development co-ordinator for the Town of Fort Macleod.

“I said, ‘I’ve got something here that looks like an absolute perfect fit for Fort Macleod’,” Patience recalled. “We had no trouble convincing anyone else.”

Patience liked the project for the economic boost it would give Fort Macleod, with its rich history of policing that began in 1874 with the arrival of the North West Mounted Police.

“It was really a no-brainer,” Patience said of the decision, adding the community was well aware the competition would be intense.

“We gave little consideration to who we would be up against,” the mayor added. “We looked at it and said if we’re going to get into this, we’re getting in to win it.”

Council struck a police college task force that set about developing the bid.

“We knew we couldn’t compete with the bigger centres on a financial level. We never considered hiring a consultant,” Patience said of the decision to let a local task force drive the
bid. “We knew if we could get the community buy-in, that would go a long way.”

After responding to the initial request for interest, the task force committee then responded to the call for proposals for a site.

Council voted to offer 320 acres in the southeast corner of Fort Macleod for $1.

“We offered the best piece of property we had available,” Patience said.

The property was rezoned to allow construction of a college, and council also got options on adjacent land to allow for expansion of the college.

An archeological study was completed on the land, as well as Phase 1 and 2 environmental tests.

The task force then developed a comprehensive bid that addressed such criteria as community engagement, and facilities and amenities in town.

One of the highlights of the bid package was a DVD that included interviews with community residents expressing their support for the bid.

The task force also received letters of support from countless other communities, including the neighbouring Blood and Piikani First Nations.

That Fort Macleod’s bid made it to the final four is a testament to the community’s support, Patience said.

“I knew we had a lot of good people we could draw off to put this thing together,” Patience said. “Just right across the board, everyone has carried their weight.”

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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