News Local

Defence minister opens TAPV facility

By Sean Chase, The Daily Observer

 

GARRISON PETAWAWA – Canada's defence minister came to the garrison Friday to officially open the Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle (TAPV) facility, while introducing a permanent home for the Canadian Special Operations Regiment (CSOR).

Accompanied by Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM) commander Maj.-Gen. Mike Rouleau and 4th Canadian Division Support Group commander Col. Louis Lapointe, Harjit Sajjan cut a ceremonial ribbon declaring the $26 million facility operational. Attending the ceremony was Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke MP Cheryl Gallant and Petawawa Mayor Bob Sweet.

The TAPV will fulfill various roles, including negotiating tough terrain, providing troops with a cross-country capability, and offering flexibility in choosing routes. In his remarks at a dedication ceremony, Sajjan said he is committed to building and maintaining the critical infrastructure that Petawawa needs as Canada's largest operational base.

“From its humble beginnings as Camp Petawawa early in the 20th century, Garrison Petawawa has grown into the modern hub of the Canadian Armed Forces that it is today,” said Sajjan, who was making his first visit to Petawawa since the Liberals came to power in 2015.

Ordered by the previous Conservative government, the TAPV fleet of 500 vehicles is expected to be distributed across seven bases and will be fully operational by 2020. It will replace the RG-31, the LAV-2 (Coyote only) and will complement the G-Wagon light utility vehicle. Built by M. Sullivan & Sons, of Pembroke, the facility will house 59 TAPVs and provides 11 maintenance bays for vehicles and equipment, as well as classrooms. Petawawa will receive a total of 113 TAPVs.

“Having the right support facilities is critical to any mission success,” said Sajjan. “The defence construction investments we've made here today are making sure that our people in uniform have what they need to continue their excellent service to Canada.”

Later, Sajjan conducted a tour of a site on the Mattawa Plains where the new $319 million CSOR complex will be raised. He pointed out the project will create an estimated 1,300 jobs. The 10-building complex will bring previously dispersed CSOR units together, allowing for increased collaboration and efficiency while providing the regiment with modern operational space, training facilities, vehicle maintenance areas, warehouses and medical facilities.

“Since its inception, CSOR has continued to provide the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command with a versatile, multi-mission force, tactical to strategic-level special operational outcomes,” said the unit's acting commanding officer, Major Mike Laplante. “Having our personnel all under one roof in a modern facility will definitely increase our effectiveness, coordination and the morale of our personnel. We're really looking forward to moving into our new home.”

Col. Lapointe noted that Sajjan had previously visited the garrison while he was a serving member of the Canadian Armed Forces, however, the minister was very happy to return to see how much the garrison has grown and praised on the fantastic relations that exist between the garrison, its soldiers and the community.

“The announcement’s made, represent a major contribution to our troops, to the Garrison and to the community,” said Col. Lapointe. “We were extremely pleased with the visit and believe the minister was also pleased to have had the opportunity to meet with the soldiers and our community leaders.”

SChase@postmedia.com