Friday, August 28, 2015

Report: JTF2 Relocation Delayed

According to an article in the Ottawa Citizen published today, by Defence insider David Pugliese the Department of National Defence's planned relocation of the special forces JTF2 Unit from its Ottawa location at Dwyer Hill to CFB Trenton is facing at least a year delay and a significant increase in the cost required to move.

JTF2 is Canada's anti-terrorism special forces, and they have been looking for a new home since 2005. Their current facility, Dwyer Hill, just outside Ottawa is an 80-hectare site that was formerly a horse farm which was purchased by DND in 1993 with the creation of JTF2. The site is designed for counter-terrorism training and includes; a pool, multiple firing ranges, and a rappel tower.

In 2008 the Conservative government announced that it would relocate JTF2 from its Ottawa facility to CFB Trenton, which would grant it more access to military transport aircraft which are flown out of Trenton. It also places the team on the 401 Highway, allowing for rapid deployment to Toronto or Montreal if they are needed. Stationing JTF2 in Trenton also places them next to the Canadian Forces Joint Incident Response Unit - which are responsible for  nuclear, biological, and chemical incidents. The Canadian Special Forces Regiment, are currently stationed at CFB Petawawa, and will stay there.

The initial estimate to more JTF2 was $346 million, which included moving, decommissioning, and building a new facility. The amount of the increase has not been disclosed, but an increase has been discussed, as well as delays. JTF2 is supposed to be in Trenton by 2019, but current contractor documents suggest they will still be occupying Dwyer Hill until at least 2020. That extension from 2019 to 2020 is costing $17 million.

DND has announced they still plan to move JTF2 - and will offer the site to other DND units following its Special Forces decommissioning. If no one at DND wants the site, it will be offered to Federal or Provincial departments. Following that, if no one steps forward to wanting the site, it will sell it on the open market in a fair and open process.