The Government of Canada’s acquisition of F-35 fighter jets was announced just last month, but three DCC regions—the National Capital Region, the Western Region, and the Quebec Region—have spent the last four years preparing for what’s to come.

Two of DCC’s leads on the project, Colleen Nichol, Program Leader at 4 Wing Cold Lake, and Véronique Proulx, Program Leader at 3 Wing Bagotville, have been busy supporting construction for the Future Fighter Capability Project. This includes a new super hangar in each location to house the incoming jets, along with operational headquarters for jet squadrons and state-of-the-art security, IT, maintenance and training facilities.

“The news won’t affect us immediately,” said Véronique. “But it’s given us a clear path forward, because now we know which supplier we’re on this journey with.”

Currently, work includes installing underground utilities to service the new facility in Cold Lake, as well as early phase construction work in Bagotville. These activities have seen their own share of unique challenges along the way.

“I’m proud that we successfully progressed this project through COVID-19 restrictions,” said Colleen. “We really learned how to work together remotely to push things forward.”

These collaborative efforts between the Assistant Deputy Minister (Infrastructure and Environment) group at the Department of National Defence and DCC have enabled the integrated project team to be well positioned and prepared for the future infrastructure needs of this important project.

With this new phase starting, the Cold Lake and Bagotville teams are gearing up for increased activity in the coming years. Colleen said they expect big momentum and expansion, with new job opportunities at both sites, though it’s too early to define what that will look like.

“The effort from the integrated project team is what’s gotten us to this point,” said Véronique. “We’re helping to shape operations for the future of the Canadian Armed Forces, which has been a pretty awesome goal to work towards.”

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