Waterfront Fleet Club at CFB Esquimalt the site of many memories

Longtime junior ranks mess forced to move, structural integrity compromised

Navy Master Seaman Michele Schnob, vice-president of the mess committee, stands on the waterfront deck of the Pacific Fleet Club lounge. The multi-use building will be shuttered in the new year due to a breakdown in its structural integrity. The club’s operations will move to the Naden side of the base next spring as a temporary measure. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

Navy Master Seaman Michele Schnob, vice-president of the mess committee, stands on the waterfront deck of the Pacific Fleet Club lounge. The multi-use building will be shuttered in the new year due to a breakdown in its structural integrity. The club’s operations will move to the Naden side of the base next spring as a temporary measure. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

An iconic social facility on the edge of CFB Esquimalt will be shutting its doors next year.

The Pacific Fleet Club, a social and professional gathering place for junior ranks members of the Royal Canadian Navy for the past 40 years, perched on the edge of the waterfront near the gates of the base, is showing its age and being phased out as the navy looks at other options.

The Fleet Club is being temporarily relocated to Building 40 at Naden behind the CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum. Long-term plans may see it incorporated with social venues at Nelles Block nearby.

Master Seaman Michele Schnob, vice-president of the mess committee that oversees operations of the Fleet Club, confirmed the structural integrity of the building, primarily the rebar in the surrounding support columns on the water side, has been diminishing over the years. Professional cost estimates done earlier this year determined the cost to repair the building would be more than $8.5 million, she said, and the decision was made more recently to move operations elsewhere on the base.

“So the best interest for us is to move to a temporary location,” she said. “I think the big point we want to put across is we want to continue mess culture and keep the Fleet Club as a venue where junior ranks can have their meetings and socialize.”

As for the memories from the current location, there are many, said Schnob, who has worked at the venue for 12 years and seen many long-time sailors stop in. It’s been a place to unwind for young sailors, the site of numerous dances and social outings, as well as a pleasant site for meetings.

“It’s a little piece of history and it does make me sad, because I’ve had plenty of experiences in there,” she said. “My husband is military as well and we spent a lot of time there. Now we take our kids to events there.”

The club, currently decorated to host various holiday functions this month, is one of several social venues operated on Department of National Defence properties. Others nearby include the Chief’s and Petty Officers Club next door, and the Wardroom on the hill directly across Esquimalt Road from those facilities.

A permanent location has yet to be settled on for the Fleet Club. Keeping it on the Naden side of the base would make sense, Schnob said, due to its proximity to Nelles and Bernays Barracks, both residential homes to new naval recruits and reserve members. CFB Halifax has a similar setup, she added.

The plan is to move to the temporary location in the spring or summer of 2018, after renovations are completed to Building 40. There are no plans yet in place to demolish the current building.

editor@vicnews.com

CFB Esquimalt

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kenny Podmore, here seen at Sidney’s cenotaph in November, says he feels for the veterans after organizers had to cancel an event acknowledging Victory in Europe (VE) Day for the second time in as many years because of COVID-19. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich event marking 75th anniversary of VE-Day cancelled

Sidney resident first planned event for May 9, 2020 moved to May 8 before being cancelled

Individuals and businesses are encouraged to bring their unwanted electronics to Tillicum Centre May 14 to be shredded, recycled or donated. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria residents can shred, donate electronics safely

Vancouver Island Better Business Bureau hosts event May 14 at Tillicum Centre

Penelope the cat showed up safe and sound at her owner’s porch after an unusual trip through the news cycle in recent weeks. (Photo courtesy of Reuniting Owners with Animals Missing)
Penelope, cat and friend of the Victoria HarbourCats, returns home safe

The cat had an after an unusual trip through the news cycle in recent weeks

Stanley Fischer (right) died while in a Victoria police jail cell hours after he was arrested on Nov. 15, 1981. Forty years later, his family is questioning his cause of death. (Photo courtesy of Mark Fischer)
Family wants investigation into man’s 1981 death while in Victoria police custody

Stanley Fischer’s death was ruled a suicide after he was found hanging in his jail cell

The Compost Education Centre is hosting its annual spring plant sale on May 8 at 1216 North Park St. Physical distancing protocols will be in effect during the sale, which runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Black Press Media file photo)
This weekend: Tenth annual spring plant sale hosted by Victoria Compost Education Centre

The non-profit event Saturday, May 8 will feature numerous varieties of plants, live music

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Most Read