CFB GAGETOWN, N.B. - The federal government will spend more that $16 million to build a new barracks at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown.
The project is the latest in a string of such announcements totalling about $400 million across the country.
In making the announcement Monday at the base, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said construction of the 97-room building will begin late this year and be ready for use by the fall of 2010.
He said the effort to rebuild and refurbish the Canadian Forces is long overdue.
''Right now, CFB Gagetown has 20 accommodation buildings, 17 of which were built in the 1950s,'' MacKay said. ''There is simply not enough training and living space to meet the requirements for the high operational tempo the army needs to maintain.''
He said many soldiers on the base have already done two or three tours in Afghanistan, and there is a need to boost recruitment and increase the size of the Canadian Forces.
''If we want to invite young men and women, and those with more experience, into the Canadian Forces we have to give them the proper facilities, in addition to the proper equipment, to make this an attractive career option,'' the minister said.
The news was welcomed by Col. Ken Chadder, the base commander who encouraged the minister to continue investing in the sprawling training facility - the largest in the Commonwealth.
''This will give us another facility,'' Chadder said. ''Hopefully it is one of three or four more that we will get over the next four or five years to handle the force expansion and the training tempo that will occur here at CFB Gagetown.''
The Gagetown base employs more than 5,000 Forces personnel and 1,300 civilians.
The new barracks will house one person to a room, compared to many of the existing buildings that house four people to a room.