FUTURE OF JTF2 BASE STILL TO BE DECIDED
By David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen
Published: Tuesday, December 30, 2008
The Defence Department won’t start figuring out what to do with its Joint Task Force 2 commando base south of Ottawa for at least another year, says the head of the country’s special forces.
Col. Michael Day said an environmental assessment still has to be done for JTF2’s new home in Trenton, Ont. Once that is finished, along with the development of a more firm construction schedule for the new Trenton installation, then the department can start looking at the future of the facility near Ottawa known Dwyer Hill.
“I don’t think we’ll initiate the look for how we’re going to deal with Dwyer Hill until we have a better sense of the environmental assessment and the construction timeline,” Day said.
The department would likely turn its attention to determining the future of the Dwyer Hill Training Centre in another year to 18 months, he suggested. “I think it’s premature to look before then,” said Day, head of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command.
JTF2, which expanded in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S., has outgrown the Ottawa installation.
The federal government announced in September the unit would relocate to Canadian Forces Base Trenton in eastern Ontario.
The process of dealing with the future of 80-hectare Dwyer Hill base will consist of two phases. One will be an examination of whether the Defence Department has a need for the counter-terrorism training facility.
Day said he doesn’t see the country’s special forces having a continued use for the base. “At the moment, I don’t predict an urgent need or an operational requirement to keep it . . . but again, we’re talking multiple years, so my situation may change,” he added.
Other organizations within the Defence Department could, however, indicate an interest in the base.
If the department doesn’t have a use for the facility it could then be offered to other government organizations. If no other department indicates an interest it could then be turned over to the Canada Lands Company, which handles the sale of federal properties.
Day said in a previous interview JTF2 could start moving out of its Dwyer Hill base as early as 2012 but the process could stretch on for several more years after that. Some elements of JTF2 could still be in Dwyer Hill as late as 2015, he suggested.
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© Canwest News Service 2008