News Local

Bright future for Garrison Petawawa

By Sean Chase, The Daily Observer

Sean Chase/Daily Observer 
Col. Louis Lapointe briefs municipal, community and business leaders on the latest infrastructure upgrades for Garrison Petawawa. The annual Garrison Petawawa Business Luncheon was recently held at the Reichwald Mess.

Sean Chase/Daily Observer Col. Louis Lapointe briefs municipal, community and business leaders on the latest infrastructure upgrades for Garrison Petawawa. The annual Garrison Petawawa Business Luncheon was recently held at the Reichwald Mess.

 

GARRISON PETAWAWA – As Petawawa troops gear up for deployments around the world, major infrastructure at the garrison will be moving forward, community and business leaders learned recently.

Petawawa will be a big beneficiary of the federal government's new defence policy dubbed “Strong, Secure, Engaged” which pledges to increase funding from the current $18.9 billion to $32 billion by 2026. That's good news for the region, said Garrison Petawawa and 4th Canadian Division Support Group commander Col. Louis Lapointe.

“The government has given us some very specific targets to meet,” said Col. Lapointe. “So the way we are doing business is very different, but its very stable and very positive.”

Col. Lapointe and garrison sergeant-major Chief Warrant Officer Tom Verner recently hosted municipal, community and business leaders at the annual Garrison Petawawa Business Luncheon where plans were unveiled for future infrastructure at the garrison which has grown from 4,000 troops in the 1990s to 7,000 personnel today – the largest base in terms of manpower in Canada.

“We are in the process of consolidating our infrastructure,” added Lapointe. “I see great things for the future.”

New equipment will be purchased, while programs will be created to help military personnel and their families. Various infrastructure projects are either underway or in the planning stages including a $220 million building for the Canadian Special Operations Regiment, hangers for the newly-acquired Tactical Armored Patrol Vehicle (TAPV) and a new integrated health care facility, expected to be finished in May 2019. The garrison recently opened a $14 million 45,000-square foot CANEX flagship store and a 16-kilometre paved running trail. Other projects will address improving residential housing units, or PMQs, and better accommodate Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services programs.

Meanwhile, the garrison's largest lodger unit, 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (2 CMBG), stood-up as the Canadian Army's high readiness task force. Soon troops will be deploying to Latvia, the Ukraine, and Africa. Petawawa already has personnel in Iraq and Kuwait. Speaking on behalf of the brigade, Lt.-Col. Fraser Auld, commanding officer of the Royal Canadian Dragoons said these soldiers, sailors, airmen and airwomen couldn't do what they do without knowing how much support they have back home.

“We are going to have troops everywhere around the globe and they gain a lot of strength from the support of the local community,” said Lt.-Col. Auld.

SChase@postmedia.com