Asmall army of construction workers will descend on Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Trenton in the coming years to build more housing and a large-scale $415-million complex of modern training facilities.

Plans are in the works for building 30,000 square metres of new and secure space for the Canadian Joint Incident Response Unit (CJIRU), a special arm of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) that was created to provide timely and agile response to rapid chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats.

The complex will be built on land at the northern fringe of 8 Wing Trenton originally meant for the Joint Task Force 2 (JTF2) unit from Ottawa. However, in 2020, the armed forces scrapped the plan to move the JTF2 unit.

8 Wing Trenton is Canada’s busiest airbase. Four new buildings for the CJIRU are to be constructed at the base.

“This construction will include general facilities like office areas, meeting rooms, and a wash bay, training facilities, physical training facilities, warehouse space and more,” says Andrée-Anne Poulin, spokesperson at the Department of National Defence (DND).

The conceptual contract design for the project was awarded in August 2019 to Pomerleau Inc. Work is scheduled to begin in spring 2024 and be completed in 2028.

The project will be the second major infrastructure expansion program in recent years at the base.

The DND has already spent $550 million replacing and upgrading aging facilities at 8 Wing.

To offset the housing supply shortage, which is affecting CAF personnel, a plan to build 60 units in a residential area on the base is also in development. The multimillion-dollar plan will be rolled out over the next 10 years, pending approval and confirmation of funding.

The units are slated to be built on the Trenton residential housing site.

“The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces recognize the challenge faced not only by CAF members and their dependants, but all Canadians in light of rising interest rates, a booming Canadian housing market and inflation,” says Poulin.

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The amount of off-base housing stock has dwindled as the population in Quinte has grown, making it more difficult for CAF members to relocate.

According to Poulin, personnel presently have several long-term options when relocating such as purchasing a home, renting a property, or residing in DND residential housing.

Presently, she noted, the CAF offers a number of benefits that facilitate relocation of personnel to any Canadian location, including but not limited to a full suite of home purchase benefits such as reimbursement of legal and real estate fees and other options that assist members with securing a rental residence.

The CAF also allows personnel to proceed unaccompanied to a new place of duty for up to six months with fully compensated lodging should they require additional time for disposing of their previous accommodation, securing a new accommodation, or to simply allow their dependents additional time for transition.

Additionally, personnel are permitted to rent or lease upon arriving at a new location, while affording them up to two years to exercise purchase benefits if they require additional time to consider the decision to purchase a residence. CAF personnel who are relocated are also provided with a taxable posting allowance equal to 50 per cent of the member’s monthly rate of pay, or a full month’s pay if they move with dependents.

In light of the uncertain housing market and rising interest rates, the CAF is also cautioning its personnel to be prudent when considering a housing purchase as a correction in the Canadian real estate market could leave them in possession of mortgages which greatly exceed the appraised value of their home.

Poulin says DND plans to construct additional housing at several bases and wings over the next several years in response to the growing operational requirement for military housing.

“Challenges with relocation are not only affecting the CAF, but also other Government of Canada departments,” she says. “It also affects our allies and partners, many of whom have expressed similar challenges.”

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Army of workers to carry out large-scale CFB Trenton training complex

Asmall army of construction workers will descend on Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Trenton in the coming years to build more housing and a large-scale $415-million complex of modern training facilities.