MP Colin Mayes is greeted with smiles from Canadian Armed Forces in Vernon after announcing $3.3 million in infrastructure funds for the local camp Thursday.

MP Colin Mayes is greeted with smiles from Canadian Armed Forces in Vernon after announcing $3.3 million in infrastructure funds for the local camp Thursday.

Camp cashes in on upgrades

The aging army camp infrastructure in Vernon is marching forward with some outstanding attention

The aging army camp infrastructure in Vernon is marching forward with some outstanding attention.

Colin Mayes, Okanagan-Shuswap MP, announced $3.3 million in upgrades for the Canadian Armed Forces installation in Vernon Thursday.

“There hasn’t been too much done for a long time so this is overdue,” said Mayes of the largest and oldest facility in Canada, whose buildings were built in 1941-42.

“It has needed some tender loving care for quite some time and this is just the start.”

Standing in front of one of the large hangars, the age might not be too apparent as the body appears in good shape, but it is missing some “guts.”

“This building here, it’s a great old building, it’s solid, but it doesn’t have any sprinkler capability,” said Mayes. “That could be catastrophic if there was a fire.”

Another example Capt. Jeff Daley points to is a lack of electronic capabilities.

“Imagine there is a domestic response, we don’t have the server capability, the electrical guts.”

Such funds will better prepare the local CAF, which serves as a staging post if there is an earthquake in the Lower Mainland or if civilians need to be taken in, in the event of a major fire.

But the main function the camp serves is as a home to the B.C. Dragoons and the Vernon Cadet Training Centre.

“The reserves here in Vernon, in my opinion, are an after thought,” said Daley, of the lack of attention. “But our footprint here is actually doubling.

“Afghanistan is over, now we need to take care of the home front.”

Mayes admits that the funding has taken too long but the federal government is getting on with the job to support the CAF at home.

Upgrades locally will include replacing siding, windows, roofing, flooring, repainting, re-leveling, upgrading of washrooms, repaving of select roads, fencing improvement and fire protection upgrades. The project is expected to be completed in 2017, and will be sourced out to private contractors.

“This community has a long and successful military history,” said Mayes, adding that hundreds of youth come to Vernon from across Canada to take part in the cadet training.

“In fact at times the number of military personnel have surpassed that of the community.”

Daley adds: “When people think about Vernon, they think about cadets.”

 

The federal funds are part of $135 million invested over the next two years at armouries across Canada, which support the creation of more than 10,000 jobs.