POLITICS

Construction contract awarded for police training college in southern Alberta

07/04/2012 12:28 EDT | Updated 09/03/2012 05:12 EDT
FORT MACLEOD, Alta. - After six years of promises, planning and politics the provincial government has awarded the construction contract for a police training college in southern Alberta.

Bird Construction has been selected to build the $122-million college in Fort Macleod, with work to begin this summer and finish by August 2014.

Mayor Shawn Patience said the college will be a big boost to the economy of the town and the surrounding region, which largely depends on agriculture.

"This is a promise made good and there is a lot of relief and a lot happiness as people find out about this," Patience said Wednesday. "For a small town of 3,000 people it is going to have a tremendous impact."

The Alberta Public Security and Law Enforcement Training Centre is to train provincial sheriffs, municipal police officers, corrections guards and other security staff.

The college was first announced by former premier Ralph Klein's government in 2006, but faced numerous delays. The project has been up and down the agendas of three different premiers and four solicitor generals over the years.

Patience said the community is excited about the prospect of new businesses and jobs after years of lobbying to keep it on track.

Fort Macleod has already bolstered its sewer, water and other infrastructure, including developing a new residential subdivision, in anticipation of the college.

The town is in the provincial riding of Livingstone-Macleod, a former Progressive Conservative stronghold that fell to the opposition Wildrose Party in the April provincial election.

The mayor said people in the community are bound to be grateful as they look to the future.

"I don't have a political crystal ball in which to determine how that will all shake out, but we are certainly thankful to the premier and the ministers to finally put this thing to bed," he said.

"This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity for a small community like ours."