Penhold Air Cadet Camp to close after summer 2014
The closing of the Penhold Air Cadet Camp at Canadian Forces Base Penhold is going to have a negative economic impact on the area according to the Penhold mayor.
Mayor Dennis Cooper said the recently announced 2014 closure of the annual camp means less summer jobs for area youth and ex-military personnel and an influx of money for Central Alberta. The camp is located near the airport in Springbrook.
“We’re going to lose commerce, we’re going to lose tourism dollars,” Cooper said. He estimated over 100 local people get jobs through the camp every year.
Another concern is having the facility standing empty for even longer, Cooper said.
“I think it’s going to affect Central Alberta in a very negative way,” Cooper said.
Major Mike Legace, senior public affairs officer for the Prairies Regional Cadet Support Unit, confirmed the camp would close after summer 2014.
He said the closure is a result of a strategic review at the national level that was looking for savings.
“They determined there was excess capacity,” Legace said of the air cadet camp system. Instead of heading to the Penhold base, after the 2014 camp cadets will head to fill empty billets in places like Cold Lake, Rocky Mountain National Cadets Centre, Vernon and even Whitehorse.
“No cadets are going to lose out,” Legace said.
The camp’s been running in Penhold since the 1960s. In 1995 the facility was sold off so the Department of National Defence (DND) has to lease the buildings. Legace said at the other camps DND already owns the facilities.
Leasing the facilities at Harvard Business Park costs $1.848 million annually, Legace said.
“It’s literally millions of dollars,” Legace said of the savings and the decision to stop leasing the base and instead send cadets to fill up space at other camps.
Legace estimated there is usually between 1,000 and 1,200 cadets that make their way through the Penhold Air Cadet Camp each summer.