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Southern Alberta leaders voice support for college

Southern Alberta is sending a strong message of support for the police college being built in Fort Macleod to provincial politicians. Council on Wednesday reviewed seven new letters of support from local municipalities that supplement four others already sent to Premier Ed Stelmach.

“This is awesome,” Mayor Shawn Patience said. “We have many good friends out there.”

The letters voicing support for the police college came from the municipal districts of Willow Creek and Pincher Creek, towns of Stavely, Granum and Cardston, County of Cardston and Village of Hill Spring. The City of Lethbridge, towns of Pincher Creek and Champion and the County of Lethbridge have already written the government.

“It does go to show you we have allies out there,” Patience said at Wednesday’s council meeting. “Other people see the importance of this project.”

The province announced in August 2006 that it would build the Alberta Police and Peace Officer Training Centre in Fort Macleod.

The plan was to train 1,400 police an peace officer recruits each year at the centre in Fort Macleod.

The project has been stalled since the province was unable to attract interest in its proposed public-private (P3) partnership.

“The council is completely supportive of this project and recognizes the importance this facility will have in providing the highest level of training to Alberta’s police, peace, corrections and fish and wildlife officers,” MD of Willow Creek Reeve Henry Van Hierden wrote. “We know that its impact will be felt across this nation when the potential for training of national and international enforcement officers is also realized.”

Town of Stavely Mayor Barry Johnson echoed those thoughts in his letter.

“We would like to see the province move ahead and begin construction on this very important facility in Fort Macleod as soon as possible,” wrote Johnson, touching on the need for high level training. “There is no question that the construction and operation of the centre will have a widespread positive economic impact in southern Alberta.”

Hill Spring Mayor Peter Griffiths in his letter pointed out construction of the police college is long overdue.

“It has been 10 years since the original recommendation for developing a single site training facility came out of the 1999 justice summit,” Griffiths wrote.

Griffiths referred to support for the project by he justice minister and three solicitor generals and an MLA subcommittee, as well as the extensive investment by Fort Macleod to win the bid.

“We feel it is time for the project to move forward and for the province to fulfill the commitment made to this region in August 2006,” Griffiths added.

Cardston Mayor Rick Schow in his letter noted the awarding of the project to Fort Macleod was a victory for all of southern Alberta, and he urged the province to move the police college forward.

“While Fort Macleod has made a significant financial commitment to the project, to this point there has been no financial commitment made by the province, nor does the project appear on a capital list,” Schow wrote. “Our community’s support for this important project continues and the need for the centre and the training it will provide is growing daily.”

The municipal leaders suggested the province consider a variety of options for building the police college.

Their recommendations included putting capital funding in the 2010 provincial budget; setting an annual financial commitment from the province to attract a P3 partner; or using a capital bond issue to raise the money.

“Mr. Premier, Albertans need your support, enforcement officers need your support, the training centre project needs your support,” wrote MD of Pincher Creek Reeve Rodney Cyr. “You have stressed your commitment to this project many times and we believe that now is the time to move it forward, taking advantage of lower construction costs, providing a much-needed economic boost to southern Alberta, and providing the highest level of training for our enforcement officers.” Patience said the support is welcome and will help keep the project at the forefront in the Alberta Legislature.

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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