The new $120-million Canadian Forces station in St. John's is halfway built and on track to be ready by the end of next year.
Lt.-Col. Cynthia MacEachern, head of the Canadian navy's capital construction program, told a lunchtime meeting of the Newfoundland and Labrador Construction Association that "lots of great progress" is being made at the construction site by Quidi Vidi Lake in Pleasantville.
"The site team's doing amazing work in all aspects, and we're really hoping to see the doors open to this facility by the end of next year," she said during her keynote speech at the association's annual conference at the Sheraton Hotel in St. John's Friday. "So not next Christmas but the Christmas after that, we would have what we call 'beneficial occupancy.'"
After the work is finished by contractors Bird Construction and the Forces' defence construction team, there will be a formal handover procedure, she said.
"We're going to need training for our folks on all the equipment control systems, how it operates, and then we're going to move our people in, and we're going to settle in, and we're going to work out the bugs, because of course no new building, no facility, anything like this of this size and scope and scale is going to be perfect immediately. We're going to probably take a year or two years to work out the operating bugs and just to make it home."
The Department of National Defence is now making plans for long-term operations and maintenance of the facility, said MacEachern.
"There's going to have to be maintenance contracts, there's going to have to be local work," she said.
"There's not a big military engineer presence. There's going to have to be some method that makes sense and is good for everybody to maintain this building into the future."
The department is in "early discussions" about how everything will work, she added.
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