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PC party’s fortunes ride on police college’s future

The fate of the Progressive Conservative Party rides on the police college, two Tory MLAs were warned March 23.

Unless construction starts soon Solicitor General Frank Oberle and Livingstone-Macleod MLA Evan Berger won’t be around for the sod-turning ceremony, Allan Park said.

“I don’t think you’re going to be in government much longer,” said Park, a Fort Macleod resident. “We’ve got another party we can support.”

Park was among more than 300 people at the Empress Theatre on March 23 to grill Oberle on the fate of the Alberta Police and Peace Officer Training Centre.

Park, who was the second person to the microphone after Oberle’s address during which he reaffirmed his commitment to build the college in Fort Macleod, said people are already looking at alternatives such as the Wildrose Alliance Party.

“We don’t want all this beating around the bush,” Park said. “We want answers. And we want them now.”

Fort Macleod resident Bruce Falconer agreed, noting people in western Canada believe a handshake and a promise is all that is needed to seal a deal.

“Promises should be fulfilled,” Falconer said.

Falconer suggested the government should dip into the Heritage Trust Fund for the money to build the college.

Oberle rejected that idea.

“That fund was intended for future generations,” Oberle said. “We are not, under the watch of this premier, going to spend the Heritage fund.”

Town of Fort Macleod economic development officer Martin Ebel argued in favour of spending some of the Heritage Trust Fund on the police college. “The way I see it, the police college is a benefit to future generations,” Ebel said. “This isn’t something that will just be here for one or two years.”

Cathy Dietrich, another Fort Macleod resident, wondered if it was the practice of the Progressive Conservatives to make promises it was not prepared to fund.

“We in Fort Macleod took government — your government — at its word that this (college) would be built and opened by 2010,” Dietrich said.

Dietrich told Oberle Fort Macleod has shown its commitment to the project by offering 320 acres of land on which the college could be built. The Town of Fort Macleod is building a $9.3-million sewer treatment facility that will serve the college, and has committed another $3.5-million to provide utilities to the property.

The Town of Fort Macleod has also spent more than $100,000 on proposal development, municipal planning and engineering.

“We have put our heart and soul into believing a promise that has not been kept,” Dietrich said.

Martin Ebel asked Oberle if the police college will be built before the next provincial election.

Oberle said he doesn’t know when the next election will be called, and can’t predict when the money will be available.

Fort Macleod Mayor Shawn Patience urged Oberle to return to Edmonton and tell his colleagues the police college is a necessity.

The mayor told Oberle to share another message.

“It’s important for this government to be seen as a government with integrity that keeps its promises to people,” Patience said.

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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