Performing drills inside the Kemball Armoury in Trail will be much more comfortable with air conditioning throughout the building, according to Chief Warrant Officer Sharman Thomas.
This is one of the improvements planned for the facility, Kootenay Columbia MP David Wilks described when he stopped in this week to announce a $1 million investment from the federal government.
“We were very pleasantly surprised,” said Thomas.
“The money coming in is something that’s very much needed and it’s going to be a positive influence on not just our unit, and the cadets and the Trail Pipe Band, as an example, but it’s going to be good for the local economy by creating some jobs in our area as well.”
The funding will go toward replacing windows and doors, upgrading washrooms, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems and fire safety systems, as well as a fresh coat of paint on the exterior walls.
Work on the building that dates back to the late ‘40s is scheduled to begin next summer and wrap up within two years time.
The armoury is home to the 44 Engineer Squadron, of the 39 Combat Engineer Regiment in Trail. The regiment is part of the 39 Canadian Brigade, Canada’s Army in B.C., and maintains service to Canada through the generation of reserve engineer soldiers that support overseas missions as well as civilian authorities during time of domestic emergency and security.
“By improving the facility itself, you are going to have more people coming in not just locally but from outside the area,” said Thomas.
A comfortable place to train may also attract new recruits and lead to more large-scale training efforts, he added.
Last year, the facility hosted about 450 reserve soldiers, ranking from junior privates to senior officers, in Trail for the 2014 Kootenay Cougar training exercises.
Cpl. Laura Matern, resource management support clerk, remembers all too well the influx of people resting their heads in tents in and around Trail to take part in this exercise.
“They were long days,” she said. “It would have been nice to have air conditioning so people could come in and use the building for instance to have lunch instead of sitting outside in a really hot tent.”
Fairly new tent pads were used last year to provide comfort to those staying on the grounds. The new money from the federal government will also go toward bringing power to these pads, which will provide more comfort during events like a cadet training weekend.
The boost will also go toward mounting a monument, up to 15 more parking spaces outside the gates and a new fence.