New Brunswick

Syrian refugees could be housed at Base Gagetown

Large orders for household items and appliances have been placed for Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown in New Brunswick, that could be used for an influx of Syrian refugees in the upcoming weeks.

Base ordering large amounts of home supplies and appliances

Camp Argonaut can house hundreds, and has been used for refugees in the past. (CBC)

Large orders for household items and appliances have been placed for Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown in New Brunswick, that could be used for an influx of Syrian refugees in the upcoming weeks.

The orders are for Camp Argonaut on the base, which is normally used by cadets during the summer months.

Camp Argonaut was previously used to house hundreds of Kosovar refugees in 1999.

Home Hardware says Base Gagetown has been ordering new home appliances from her store. (CBC)

"We received a couple of emails looking for appliances for Camp Argonaut," said of Kathy LaFort, manager at Roblynn Home Hardware Building Centre in Oromocto.

"One was for five washer and dryers, commercial grade. Others were for top-mount freezers and fridges."

Another Home Hardware manager has also confirmed the base had made a separate order for domestic goods.

"Lately we've had a lot of household stuff like garbage cans, ironing boards, irons and stuff like that," said Gary Snow of contractor sales. "And a lot of lumber."

Contractors on site

Several private contractors are on site at Camp Argonaut installing and repairing windows, doors, and doing general maintenance.

Contractors have been at Camp Argonaut, doing maintenance on the housing units. (CBC)

The Canadian Armed Forces are looking into possibilities for assisting Syrian refugees.

Communications advisor Evan Koren wrote in an email to CBC News, "...the Canadian Armed Forces are ready to do everything they can to contribute to a 'Whole of Government' effort to assist the Syrian refugees.

"As a matter of prudent planning, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) are currently reviewing accommodations available at bases and wings should the CAF be called upon to provide assistance in that regard. From a CAF perspective, our intent is to use vacant spaces."

Working group on refugees

New Brunswick's Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister, Francine Landry also issued a statement  calling Syrian refugees a priority for the government.

"We are currently assembling a working group that involves several government departments to prepare for a possible influx of refugees," said Landry. "The working group is in its early stages, and I hope to have more information to share in the coming days."

These units house hundreds of cadets each summer at Camp Argonaut (CBC)

Lisa Bamford De Gante, Executive Director of the Multicultural Association of Fredericton Inc., confirmed that talks are underway with the federal government about how to best prepare for the arrival of refugees in the area.

"We don't have specifics yet," she said. "But everyday now we talk. This is a unique situation. We will need interpreters, more staff to be brought in, but as of right now everything is very early stages."

Bamford De Gante could not speak at length due to a conference call with Ottawa officials about the incoming refugees.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shane Fowler

Reporter

Shane Fowler has been a CBC journalist based in Fredericton since 2013.

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