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Premier Stelmach promises police college construction start in 2012

Premier Ed Stelmach brought good news for residents such as Gord Wolstenholme and John Dziadyk.

Shawn Patience presents Ed Stelmach a limited edition print of the town office.

The Alberta government will deliver on the promise it made nearly five years ago to build the police college in Fort Macleod.
Premier Ed Stelmach said money for construction of the college will be in the 2011 budget to be announced Thursday, and that construction will start in the summer of 2012.
“I want to thank everybody for their patience,” Stelmach said. “There was a lot of gnashing of teeth trying to put this together.”
Stelmach told the 150 people at Fort Macleod and District Community Hall engineering on the “state of the art facility” will begin immediately.
Fort Macleod Mayor Shawn Patience welcomed the announcement.
“This is a very good day for Fort Macleod,” Patience said. “The future really is now. We have a lot of work ahead of us. This is not the end of the road, it’s the start of a new road. We want to be world-renowned for our training centre.”
Stelmach and Livingstone-Macleod MLA Evan Berger could not provide many specific details, but the plan is to train 1,400 police and peace officer recruits each year at the college.
It has not been determined whether the college will be built with a public-private (P3) partnership.
“That is still being worked back and forth,” Berger said. “The line item will allow it to go forward as a government build or as a P3.”
Stelmach said it is unfortunate the project did not move forward after Fort Macleod was announced as the site in August 2006 by then-Solicitor General Harvey Cenaiko.
“It’s been a long, drawn-out process,” the premier admitted.
Stelmach said the project suffered a setback when there were no “meaningful” responses to the governments request for proposals from companies interested in a public-private partnership (P3) to build the police college.
The project’s delay ended Tuesday when it was included in the speech from the throne, and will gain momentum Thursday when it is announced $130-million to $150-million is included in the budget for construction of the police college.
“Dollars will be allocated in a very specific line item for the training centre,” Stelmach said.
Berger said Fort Macleod owes a debt of gratitude to its council, and in particular the mayor.
“Shawn has been patient,” Berger said. “But he’s also been relentless.”
Stelmach agreed.
“With respect to Mayor Patience, he does reflect his name,” Stelmach said with a laugh.
Berger praised Patience and his council for being strong advocates for Fort Macleod, keeping the police college project in front of the premier, cabinet ministers and MLAs for nearly five years.
“He’s done it very, very persistently,” Berger said of Patience.
Stelmach also said Fort Macleod’s mayor and council were respectful — and persistent — in their lobbying efforts on behalf of the police college project.
Berger said he understands the frustration of Fort Macleod’s council and citizens and that they might have thought government had turned its back on the town when there was no concrete action on the police college project.
“Let me assure you, I never dropped the ball,” Berger said. “Everybody in Edmonton knew we had a commitment and had to move forward.”
Patience said there is plenty of credit to go around, referring to the efforts of his past and present council, former economic development officer Gordon MacIvor and the people of Fort Macleod.
“A lot of people can make a difference in the world and a lot of people have,” Patience said.
The mayor also pointed out the police college project has been the responsibility of five solicitors general, the most recent of which is Frank Oberle.
“Had any one of them dropped that ball, we would not be standing here today,” Patience said.
Patience said Stelmach played no small role in making the police college a reality.
“I believed that if we were ever to see this day, it would be the commitment of the premier that won the day for us,” Patience said.
The mayor also credited Berger and his predecessor, Dave Coutts.
“A lot of people made this happen,” Patience said.
The announcement on Thursday brought the mayor a measure of relief.
“We have had times when most people probably believed we would never see this facility,” Patience said.
Patience said the experience of rallying the entire community to win the bid in 2006 was rewarding, but that was tempered by the frustration of nearly five years with no action on the police college.
“There have been many days and nights since then (August 2006) that I didn’t think I would see this particular day,” Patience said.
Hank Arnoldussen of Scougall Motors praised the premier for delivering on the promise to build the police college in Fort Macleod.
“Mr. Premier, you are a man of your word,” Arnoldussen said.
Arnoldussen also said Fort Macleod residents appreciate the work Patience, his council and Berger did on behalf of the community.
Doug Thornton of Pincher Creek said the announcement is good news for the region.
“We’re really pleased to see this here for our neighbours,” Thornton said. “It came together by working together.”
Piikani Nation councillor Patsy English also congratulated Fort Macleod.
“It’s a real blessed day,” English 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