Some of the most ambitious projects in the history of this country’s Air Force will be launched officially this week with a ribbon cutting, the flick of ceremonial shovels and words of encouragement from the senior officer responsible for their successful completion.
Brigadier-General Eldren Thuen, Deputy Commanding Officer, Mission Support, 1 Canadian Air Division, flew to 8 Wing/CFB Trenton to oversee the November 20 ribbon cutting of the newly constructed Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower, and to put the first shovels in the ground for several infrastructure renewal projects.
BGen Thuen’s sod turning for the new $40.5 million (estimatedproject value) Air Mobility Training Centre (AMTC) will be the culmination of a busy afternoon for the head of Air Force Construction Engineering; an afternoon that includes cutting the ribbon to open the new $11 million 8 Wing ATC, and additional sod turnings for a new 1 Hangar (project value of $122.6 million), the future Transport/Electrical Mechanical Engineering shops ($75 million), and the Aerospace Telecommunications Engineering Support Squadron Refinishing Facility ($30.9 million).
The Government of Canada awarded a contract for close to $40.5 million earlier this month to Ottawa-based contractor, Pomerleau Inc., for the construction of the AMTC at 8 Wing/CFB Trenton. According to Minister of Defence, the Honourable Peter MacKay, the AMTC contract, like many other projects already underway at 8 Wing will bring “tremendous economic benefits to the region, generating direct employment opportunities over the course of this work.”
“Awarding this contract is evidence of the Government’s commitment to providing the Canadian Forces with the infrastructure required to maintain a first-class modern military,” said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway. “This new facility will provide excellent training conditions and long-term support for military personnel at 8 Wing Trenton.”
The new AMTC will be located on the south side of the Wing, immediately west of the 8 Wing hospital and Junior Ranks barracks. The preparatory work for this project has already presented several “big challenges” for 8 Wing Construction Engineering personnel, including relocating a major utilities corridor and realigning Hercules and Yukon Streets.
That pre-construction work has now been done, according to Major Phil Baker, 8 Wing Construction Engineering Officer.
“Hercules actually becomes a dead end street now west of the Junior Ranks barracks, but Yukon runs the entire length of the south side, which will provide a better traffic flow in the future,” Major Baker said. “All of this preparatory work was completed this summer and early fall to make way for construction of the Air Mobility Training Centre.”
Another interesting point that results from this preparatory work will be the changes in 911 street addresses for 24 buildings which were on Hercules (from 10 Hercules to 145 Hercules) which will be readdressed to Yukon Street,” Major Baker said. “These are just a few examples of the behind-the-scenes work that has gone on for just one of the many projects in this massive 8 Wing infrastructure renewal.”
This AMTC project, part of Minister MacKay’s infrastructure announcement in September 2009, will result in a new 17,000 square metre facility that will house the equipment and personnel required to train operators and maintainers of the CC130J Hercules aircraft. Major Baker said construction of that hangar is expected to begin before the end of 2009, with the maintenance training portion of the facility completion anticipated for summer 2012.
“Operators and maintainers of the newly-acquired CC130J-30 aircraft require specialized training on this airframe and there are no existing facilities available at 8 Wing to house the equipment and personnel required,” Major Baker said. “The AMTC will ensure that the facility requirements for the CC130J-30 aircraft are met.”
The Department of National Defence has stated that renewal of the tactical airlift fleet continues the modernization and the strengthening of the Canadian Forces, and enables our troops to conduct safer and more effective operations at home and abroad.
MacKay said awarding the contract to construct the AMTC “illustrates the Government’s commitment to modernizing Canadian Forces equipment and infrastructure in an integrated fashion.”
“426 Squadron is thrilled with the new training facility. We have recently received the approval to call the building the W/C Sedley S. Blanchard Training Centre after the first Commanding Officer of 426 Squadron who was killed in action during the Second World War,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Christian Roy, Commanding Officer of 426 (Transport) Training Squadron. “We are pleased that we can link both the history and the future of the Thunderbirds.”
“This state-of-the-art building will house cutting edge training and training equipment provided by CAE (a Canadian manufacturer of simulator, modeling and integrated training technologies) and their sub-contractors,” LCol Roy said. “We are looking forward to the unique opportunities this arrangement brings to Air Mobility.”