11/04/2013 03:56 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST

British Army In Alberta: Thousands Of Troops Will Continue To Train At BATUS In Suffield

MEDICINE HAT, Alta. - The British Army will continue to send thousands of soldiers to train in southern Alberta, but wants a better deal from Ottawa.

Col. Jim Landon, commanding officer of the British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS), said the United Kingdom and Canada have agreed to extend a training agreement first signed in 1971.

"The UK secretary of state, the Right Hon. Philip Hammond, has made it clear to the Canadian minister of national defence, the Honourable Rob Nicholson, that we intend to seek savings in the support costs of running BATUS," Landon said in a speech at Canadian Forces Base Suffield Monday.

"Minister Nicholson has recognized this concern and undertaken to work with us to identify ways to save money."

Department of National Defence officials in Ottawa could not be reached for comment.

Landon said the British military considered moving the training unit to a base in Germany.

But he said after a review, senior officers determined that the base in Suffield, Alta., is the best place to conduct large-scale training with live ammunition.

The base trains thousands of soldiers each year, which pumps lots of money into the local economy.

Some businesses in southeastern Alberta were concerned the British were planning to close their training unit.

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