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Solicitor General: ‘Police college is coming to Macleod’

The $110-million Alberta Police and Peace Officer Training Centre will be built in Fort Macleod, the Solicitor General promised Friday.

Solicitor General Fred Lindsay made it clear that rumours and opinions to the contrary the project is continuing on schedule.

“We made the right decision,” Lindsay said. “As I told the Edmonton Police Commission when they asked me if I would reverse it I said, Not a chance’.”

Lindsay delivered the news Fort Macleod wanted to hear during the annual meeting of the Livingstone-Macleod Progressive Conservative Association.

Lindsay and project manager Bill Meade said plans to start construction in late 2007 or early 2008, with the first class of recruits arriving in the fall of 2010, have not changed.

“Six months ago I asked that very question,” Mayor Shawn Patience said. “I’m very buoyed by the fact they are maintaining that same schedule.”

Livingstone-Macleod MLA Dave Coutts also welcomed Lindsay’s reinforcement of the decision to build the police college in Fort Macleod.

“Thank you for that message,” Coutts told Lindsay. “It’s good news for southern Alberta, good news for Alberta, and good news for Canada.” Lindsay, who is MLA for Stony Plain, was on the four-member MLA committee that endorsed the recommendation the college be built in Fort Macleod.

“Knowing the proud history and tradition of policing in this town, coming down here and seeing the dedication and support of the community . . . it didn’t take long to convince me this was the right decision,” Lindsay said.

Nothing has happened since the Aug. 30 announcement to change the government’s direction.

“We’re going to move onwards and upwards and the facility is going to be built here in the very near future,” Lindsay said.

Lindsay said building the police college in Fort Macleod represents the government’s commitment to rural sustainability.

“The police college will hopefully be the seed that germinates this community,” Lindsay said.

The police college is also part of the government’s plan to create safe and secure communities through standardized training for police and peace officers.

“I’m certainly excited about that,” Lindsay said.

Lindsay also addressed concerns the province plans to replace the RCMP.

“They are the best in Canada and they are known as one of the best across the world,” Lindsay said of the RCMP.

The province plans to hire and train more sheriffs to work in such areas as traffic enforcement and serving warrants.

“We need our RCMP officers doing higher levels of work,” Lindsay said.

Lindsay said there is the possibility RCMP recruits will receive basic training at the college in Fort Macleod before moving on for specialized training at depot in Regina.

Lindsay told the audience the government has a $17-billion backlog of capital projects, which makes the private-public partnership (P3) key in development of the police college.

“I think this is just an excellent opportunity for a private-public partnership,” Lindsay said.

Police college design work is being done up-front to accommodate the P3 process.

“We need that police college today,” Lindsay said. “Not five years from now.”

Calgary-Hays MLA Art Johnston, who spent 25 years with the Calgary Police Service, agreed.

“The police college is something that we really need,” Johnston said.

Project manager Bill Meade said it is vital to ensure there is value to the taxpayer before the request for P3 proposals is made.

“We have to do a lot of work on the front end,” Meade said.

That work, which includes architectural and engineering design, is being done at present.

Work has also been done with chiefs of police and leaders from the peace officer groups to develop a common curriculum.

Engineers, architects and land developers working on the project are at the point, Meade said, where they can come to Fort Macleod to meet with the mayor and council and liaison committee.

“We want to ensure our plans are meeting your needs and your expectations,” Meade said. “There’s things that we want to make sure as a 30- or 40- or 50-year community partner with you that make sense for you.”

That includes the theme and look of the building, areas of the college that will allow public access and things the community can do to support the college.

“There is a whole bunch of things that we think we could do in partnership with the local providers,” Meade said.

Meade said a meeting within a month is anticipated with local officials, before the request for P3 proposals goes out.

“I’m convinced the police college is going to be a big boost for your community and I’m sure you are too,” Solicitor General Fred Lindsay said. “I can hardly wait for the day I can come down and cut the ribbon.”

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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