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Coast Guard hopes to move this spring

Two years after completion, this Canadian Coast Guard facility in Grand Bay West Industrial Park remains unoccupied, but that should change this spring if all goes according to plan. – © FILE PHOTO

By ROSALYN ROY

PORT AUX BASQUES – Lockdowns that have frustrated residential consumers are also playing part in delays affecting all levels of government. But factors other than the pandemic have delayed matters for the Canadian Coast Guard’s (CCG) regional operations, which has yet to fully relocate to its new facility near Hopedale Avenue in the Grand Bay West Industrial Park.

“The transition period from the existing Canadian Coast Guard Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS) building in Port aux Basques to our new building has been extended due to some outstanding technical and structural work,” stated Janet Kelly, Communications Advisor for Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard. “There was also a delay related to contracting and permits for utility work required to bring high-speed internet from the main fibre-optic cable onto our property.”

Responding to e-mail inquiries, Kelly noted that the pandemic has certainly played its part in delaying the move from the CCG’s present Army Hill facility.

“We have experienced longer than usual lead times for procurement, as well as varying restrictions on contractor site access, due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” wrote Kelly.

Delays in most consumer items are a matter of course during the winter months due to storms that can delay ferry crossings, even without a global pandemic. Construction materials remain in high demand, and that has driven prices even higher for consumers.

Plans to install a new dehumidification system for the pool area of the Bruce II have also been delayed, since the pandemic has also impacted the provincial election.

“The tender for the Dextron unit replacement at the Bruce II complex, as with all tenders prepared for this year’s construction season, can’t be issued until after the election has been finalized. Official approvals from government departments would be very difficult to obtain during this time,” Town Manager Leon MacIsaac stated via e-mail.

Currently the Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS) Centre continues to operate out of the Army Hill facility, which directly overlooks the harbour. That site was originally constructed in 1977 and is regularly exposed to extremely harsh weather, especially in winter.

Weather and sustainability played key factors in the overall decision to build the new facility. Upgrades include better natural light, which is intended to help promote the health and well-being of its staff. Some of them have already made the move into the new building, wrote Kelly.

“While our MCTS Officers continue to work at the Army Hill site, staff from our Integrated Technical Services group are already working in the technical workshop space at the new building. We hope to complete our transition to the new building later this spring.”

There are no plans to hire more staff for the regional MCTS Centre, but the Coast Guard is presently accepting applications for new employees at other MCTS locations.

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