Nova Scotia

Cadet training centre in Cornwallis Park closing after program overhaul

After being closed for the duration of the pandemic, the HMCS Acadia Cadet Training Centre will not reopen.

'It's very unfortunate for this area,' says local resident

The newly established Cadet Activity Program will roll out this summer and will offer around 200 community-based locations across the country. (Submitted by Jason Warford)

After being closed for the duration of the pandemic, the HMCS Acadia Cadet Training Centre in Cornwallis Park, N.S., will not reopen.

The training centres in Greenwood, N.S., and Gagetown, N.B., will still be used going forward. The Debert training centre closed in 2021.

Maj. Shawn Sperry, deputy commanding officer of the Regional Cadet Support Unit in the Atlantic region, said the program will change so that cadets can take the first two required levels at designated sites within the community rather than having to go to the closest training centre.

The newly established Cadet Activity Program will roll out this summer and will offer around 200 community-based locations across the country.

It is expected there will be more than 9,000 participants for the first level of training and more than 7,000 for the second level.

Sperry said both the closure at Cornwallis Park and the overall program revamp comes amid funding uncertainty brought on by the pandemic and the need to centralize the program.

Some local residents say they'll miss the training centre.

"It's very unfortunate for this area," said Peter Nordland, retired veteran and resident.

"It was great. It just brought life to this place during the summer when the cadets were here, and we're quite disappointed."

John Rogers, a resident and retired Sea Scout Skipper — the adult leader of the Sea Scout ship — said he's sad to see it go.

"That was a great program for the kids.... It puts a few people in the area to work, too."

Sperry acknowledges those feelings but said these changes will allow for more cadets across Canada to attend training in future.

Cadet Activity Programs will be delivered locally for cadets in the first two levels. (Government of Canada website)

"All across Canada, in many communities, we have these sites that will be set up with staff to allow cadets basically to do day camps for their first and second year, which gives them an opportunity to stay at home, and their parents will drop them off," said Sperry.

Cadets will be sent to a CTC location to finish their training only after the first two levels are completed.

"It can vary from expedition, aviation, band, sailing and a number of other activities… they may be from Atlantic Canada, but they'll be transported to the appropriate CTC across the country and be given that same experience that would have been at the HMCS Acadia," said Sperry.

Training centres will now only offer the last two levels. They'll also be offering additional courses such as seamanship and sailing.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Feleshia Chandler is a journalist based in Halifax. She loves helping people tell their stories and has interests in issues surrounding LGBTQ+ people as well as Black, Indigenous and people of colour. You can reach her at feleshia.chandler@cbc.ca.

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