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CFB Esquimalt underfunding repairs: auditor

Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt spent less than one-third of the recommended amount of its budget on repairs and maintenance last year, an auditor general's report has revealed.

Auditor general Michael Ferguson released his report on Department of National Defence property Oct. 23, and found CFB Esquimalt spent only 0.39 per cent of its budget on repairs and maintenance, the worst of the 19 DND bases that were compared.

A national target of 1.4 per cent of spending was achieved only by CFB Kingston.

"Infrastructure is likely to continue deteriorating until the Department (of Defence) consistently meets the minimum standard level of spending," Ferguson said in the report.

Base officials told Ferguson part of the problem is they do not receive maintenance and repair funding from the federal government on a schedule that matches budget planning.

A DND response to the report said the department has one of the largest and most complex federal portfolios, with approximately 21,000 buildings, 2.25 million hectares of land, 5,500 kilometres of roads, and 3,000 kilometres of water, storm and sewer pipes.

The federal government will spend $40 billion over the next 20 years to maintain and build new DND infrastructure through its Canada First Defence Strategy, including $3.4 billion already announced for specific projects.

DND officials agreed with all of Ferguson's recommendations, which included the need to centralize property management to improve efficiency.

The department did not respond to several requests for comment on CFB Esquimalt's repair and maintenance record.

dpalmer@vicnews.com

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