Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

July 12, 2007 16:42 ET

Canada's New Government Announces $121M in Construction Projects for 19 Wing Comox

COMOX, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - July 12, 2007) - The Honourable Gordon O'Connor, Minister of National Defence, announced plans today for an estimated $121 million investment in infrastructure upgrades for 19 Wing Comox. These projects include a runway rehabilitation project, rehabilitation of roads and utilities, the construction of single quarters, a combined mess, and a new health care facility.

"Comox is the cornerstone of Canadian Forces air operations on the west coast of Canada," said the Honourable Gordon O'Connor, Minister of National Defence. "With this $121 million investment in Comox's aging facilities, we are delivering substantial economic benefits to the Province of British Columbia - as well as demonstrating a firm commitment to our Canada First Defence Strategy. Over the next ten years a new Comox will emerge, reinforcing once again our government's dedication to our Canadian Forces."

"These projects will support our Canadian Forces," said General Rick Hillier, the Chief of Defence Staff. "They will maintain high morale, enabling these men and women to monitor our coastal waters, and perform vital search and rescue missions on our west coast."

The contract for the Runway Rehabilitation Project, valued at approximately $6 million, was awarded in April 2007 to JJM Construction Ltd, a Canadian company based in Delta, British Columbia. The Department of National Defence and Defence Construction Canada conducted a fair and transparent competitive process in order to initiate the runway rehabilitation construction.

The runway rehabilitation consists of repaving, drainage upgrades, and installation of new runway lighting. The construction of 70 new apartments for personnel posted to the Wing, several training quarters, and a new mess hall and kitchen facility will replace facilities that no longer meet requirements. The Utilities and Roads Rehabilitation Project will relocate the roadways on the Wing to improve traffic flow, traffic safety, and wing security. In addition, plans for a new health care facility are being developed. The existing medical/dental facility is over 63 years old, is too small to operate efficiently, and is not located in an easily accessible location at the Wing.

These projects are in the preliminary development phase and contracts have not been tendered at this time. It is still too early to provide an accurate estimation of potential employment opportunities for the region. This investment will benefit the local economy, and details will be more accurately established during the implementation phase.

19 Wing Comox is the largest single employer in the Comox Valley, located on the east coast of Vancouver Island.

BACKGROUNDER

COMOX CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS

HISTORY

19 Wing Comox opened as a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Base in 1942, against the backdrop of the Pacific War. The Wing was constructed on the east coast of Vancouver Island to protect the North American Pacific Coast from a possible Japanese invasion.

Following the post war closure in 1946, RCAF Comox reopened in 1952, largely due to the Korean War and Cold War tensions. At that time, Comox was used largely to search for foreign submarines and protect Canadian sovereignty. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, CFB Comox served as the primary air defence base in western Canada.

Today, 19 Wing employs approximately 1300 Canadian Forces (CF) members and civilian employees, and is the largest single employer in the Comox Valley, an area of approximately 71,000 people. 19 Wing Comox maintains a close watch of our coastal approaches and performs critical search and rescue missions on Canada's west coast.

COMOX CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS

The need to upgrade Comox's aging infrastructure has necessitated a significant number of infrastructure improvements and additions to be implemented at 19 Wing Comox.

Runway Rehabilitation Project: The current runway is aging and in need of upgrades. The contract for this project was awarded to JJM Construction Ltd, a Canadian company based in Delta, BC. The project consists of:

- Milling off the surface and replacing with new asphalt concrete

- Replacement of sub-drainage pipes

- In field grading to ensure grassed area drains away from the runway

- Installation of new runway edge lighting and signs

The Runway Rehabilitation Project is currently underway, and completion is anticipated as early as Fall 2007.

Construct Single Quarters Project: The existing residential facilities are aging and conditions no longer meet new functional accommodations standards. Given the shortage of residential housing on the local market, the requirement for newly constructed residences is required. This project will be implemented in two phases. Phase one will see the construction of approximately 70 garden apartments for personnel posted to the Wing for longer than a year. Phase two will see the construction of several training quarters to accommodate personnel posted to the Wing temporarily. Phase one is moving ahead, while phase two is planned for further development and implementation in the next four to ten years.

One of the objectives of the single quarters construction projects is to reduce maintenance costs and to provide CF members with comfortable and appropriate facilities to better enable them to complete their operational requirements to the best of their ability.

Construct Combined Mess and Kitchen Project: Existing kitchen facilities are aging and have become increasingly difficult to maintain. To address operational requirements and increase efficiency and effectiveness, a new combined mess will be constructed. The construction of the combined mess will update the outdated infrastructure and provide a layout that will accommodate the personnel of 19 Wing Comox, providing three daily meals and a spacious dining area. This project is currently planned for further development and implementation over the next four to ten years.

Utilities and Roads Rehabilitation Project: The purpose of this project is to relocate the roadways at 19 Wing to improve traffic flow, traffic safety and ensure operational security. Parking lots will be redesigned, and roadways will be modified to improve traffic safety on the Wing. Utility corridors will be relocated to coincide with the new road alignment. Steam, water distribution, sanitary sewer, storm sewer lines, and the entire electrical system will be replaced. This project will be further developed in the upcoming years, and construction start is anticipated as early as 2010.

New Health Care Facility: The existing medical/dental facility is over 63 years old and is too small to operate efficiently. The current location is not easily accessible by ambulance, and the infrastructure does not have adequate earthquake resistance. The construction of a new health care facility will enable 19 Wing Comox to meet military functional requirements efficiently. Design of the new facility to commence in July 2007.

The table below summarizes the total estimated project costs, over the entire span of the project, inclusive of taxes.



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Project Total estimated overall cost
(inclusive of taxes)
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Runway Rehabilitation Project $6.0 million
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Construct Single Quarters Project $37.8 million
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Construct Combined Mess and Kitchen Project $19.0 million
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Utilities and Roads Rehabilitation Project $38.5 million
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New Health Care Facility Project $19.8 million
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Total: $121.1 million
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Significant renovations on Canadian Forces Housing Agency (CFHA) housing units at 19 Wing Comox are currently in the design phase, and more units are slated for renovations in the future. These projects are a result of CFHA's Life Cycle Asset Management Plan designed to address the condition of the Department's housing portfolio, based on overall requirements for accommodation, individual considerations of each site, and suitability against contemporary standards.

The Department of National Defence and Defence Construction Canada (DCC) conducted fair and transparent competitive processes for the construction of the runway rehabilitation project. DCC is a Crown corporation, accountable to the federal government through Public Works and Government Services Canada. DCC was responsible for all aspects of the contracting process for these projects.

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