POLITICS

Peter MacKay promises $28M for army weather centres

07/24/2012 02:30 EDT | Updated 09/23/2012 05:12 EDT
Defence Minister Peter MacKay announced on Tuesday that CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick will be getting an army meteorological centre.

MacKay made the annoucement at CFB Gagetown on Tuesday afternoon. The new centre is part of the Canadian Forces weather and oceanographic service transformation project and is valued at $28.1 million.

There will also be upgrades and renovations made to the existing meteorological and oceanographic centres at CFB Esquimalt in British Columbia and CFB Halifax.

The centre is meant to track weather information in the region to allow for "effective military operations.” MacKay said that it would be finished next summer "weather permitting."

The $5.1 million construction contract has been awarded to Maxim 2000 of Saint John and has already begun. It is part of the $28.1 million Canadian Forces Weather and Oceanographic Service Transformation Project, which began several years ago.

MacKay said that 27 jobs will be created "through the construction phase." Jobs at the centre will be filled by relocated employees from other bases. MacKay said the centre "will contribute millions of dollars into the local economy."

The centre will allow Canadian Forces members to know, before heading out on a military operation, what the weather's going to be like so they can prepare, he said.

Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, said that the centre is an "increased opportunity for training and development ... housing a team of weather specialists."