CFB Esquimalt will finally welcome new military housing in the form of an 84-unit apartment complex.
The Department of National Defence (DND) has confirmed plans to build the complex at the base just a few weeks after B.C.’s premier discussed the idea with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
While 84 units won’t solve the significant housing shortage, Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins says it’s a start.
“We are a very challenging region for affordability and military members make good money but it’s really hard to get by in our community when the price of a one-bedroom apartment is upward of $2000, so this is going to be very helpful,” says Desjardins.
The mayor says more base housing will reduce pressure on other communities where military personnel is currently living.
“You compound that with some sort of emergency that would require the military to come to the base, say if we have an earthquake, the only ways to Esquimalt are across bridges and if any are compromised that’s a challenge,” she adds.
Around 85 per cent of Canadian Armed Forces members find accommodations privately while only 15 per cent opt for military housing, according to the DND.
Currently in Esquimalt, the DND has 709 residential housing units in total. Last year, the base had a waitlist of 700 people, the shortage was so significant the base was allowing new sailors to live in training barracks.
“Whether you provide housing for single members or families it’s going to help in terms of allowing the military to recruit and allowing the military to continue to have people stationed here,” says Desjardins.
The 84 units announced for CFB Esquimalt are part of a new construction program by the Canadian Forces Housing Agency, to increase the availability of housing for CAF members in several locations across the country.
At this point, the DND isn’t providing details on where the project will go or when construction will begin.