The Canadian Armed Forces aims to modernize Primary Reserve infrastructure

The North Park Armoury, located in Halifax

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By Stephen Fouchard, Army Public Affairs

Ottawa, Ontario – The Department of National Defence (DND) has launched The Canadian Armed Forces Primary Reserves Infrastructure Strategic Asset Study, an extensive study of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Primary Reserves (PRes) armouries and other properties across the country to make sure Reservists have the most suitable and cost-effective work environments.

The study is a comprehensive analysis of PRes infrastructure that will allow decision-making on modernization and portfolio rationalization, and will inform future funding.

Modern infrastructure is an absolute necessity for all PRes units. This infrastructure includes the bases and installations where the PRes units train and the support networks required to maintain and operate equipment. In addition, infrastructure locations must be strategically viable.

Downsizing is not the objective of the study – it is more a matter of making sure PRes members have the infrastructure most suited to do their jobs, while ensuring it remains sustainable in the long term.

The Assistant Deputy Minister (Infrastructure and Environment), the entity responsible for the management of DND/CAF real property, initiated study and will examine all 185 PRes properties across the country (59% of which house Canadian Army units) to determine which need to be repaired, rebuilt, demolished or consolidated.

The Canadian Army is modernizing and evolving. The study will ensure new PRes infrastructure requirements are satisfied and ensure requirements for real property are met, while also providing advice on whether obsolete infrastructure should be transferred or sold.

Phase one of the study found many of the property assets were unsuitable, underutilized, unaffordable or outdated.

Many assets will be modernized and will have an increased capacity. Other assets, especially those that are outdated and underused, may be repurposed, upgraded or potentially demolished.

Some units may be required to share an armoury with other units.

Half of CAF armouries are 50 or more years old. Additionally, 30 per cent are 100 or more years old and 16 per cent are in “poor” or “critical” condition.

More than 60 of the buildings studied are recognized as Federal Heritage Buildings, which means that any plans to demolish or renovate them would have to be evaluated by Parks Canada’s Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office.

The study also recognizes that many of the properties are an integral part of the communities in which they are located, and an open dialogue will continue to be maintained to ensure stakeholder interests are considered and respected.

During the next phase of this study, DND personnel will be visiting many armouries to obtain feedback from local personnel on their needs and issues. General recommendations resulting from these visits are expected by 2020. DND will share updates throughout the process.

These decisions will reflect what is best for the missions of the CAF and the Army Reserve and local communities, in terms of cost-effectiveness and what is most practical.

Example renovation project in Halifax, Nova Scotia

A major renovation project is underway at Halifax’s North Park Armoury. The 120-year-old building is being revamped with new workspaces and facilities to accommodate modern military vehicles, all while preserving its heritage character.

Projects like this will serve the PRes well into the future, while preserving its history, heritage and place in communities across Canada.

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