Comox Valley Announces it’s Intent to Secure 19 Wing Comox as the Fixed-Wing Search and Rescue Training Centre

The Comox Valley will be represented this weekend at Aerospace, Defence and Security Expo (ADSE) in Abbotsford to launch a campaign developed to support the long term success of Comox Valley’s largest economic generator, 19 Wing Comox.

The initiative has been created in response to the Federal Governments’ Request for Proposal for the Fixed Wing Search and Rescue (FWSAR) Replacement Project. The companies which submit bids are expected to recommend locations for future operations, training and maintenance as part of their proposals. Potential bidders include Lockheed Martin, Airbus Group, and Boeing, among others.

19 Wing Comox is one of three Training Centre location contenders which also include 8 Wing Trenton, and 14 Wing Greenwood. Recognizing the opportunity and the threat to the region’s economy if the training centre were to be located elsewhere, Comox Valley Economic Development Society (CVEDS), and a dedicated volunteer Technical Working Group, comprised of retired senior military officers, and representatives from the Comox Valley Airport, have developed a discussion paper that presents the Comox Valley and 19 Wing Comox as the logical choice for the eventual location of a new FWSAR Training Centre. Additional input was also provided via the Vancouver Island Aerospace Group.

The paper seeks to demonstrate strategic rationale regarding the relevance of 19 Wing Comox and its preferential attributes related to the SAR training to potential bidders, “19 Wing Comox is the ideal location for this training, thanks to the aerodrome’s capacity, the synergies available with the existing Search and Rescue training facilities, and especially the mountainous and overwater training venues available year-round. Students who learn how to fly SAR missions here will be able to save lives anywhere,” said Fred Bigelow, CEO, Comox Valley Airport, and a member of the working committee.

The ADSE brings together Canadian and international aerospace industry partners and the international defence community, including senior government officials military delegations and other industry visitors and exhibitors. The show provides a venue for businesses to learn about new defence procurement opportunities and in the case of the Comox Valley, gain industry exposure.

“We knew that if we wanted the Comox Valley to be given serious consideration as the best location for the Training Centre, we needed to have a presence at the ADSE as a part of our strategy,” said Richard Hardy, President of Comox Valley Economic Development, who has been supporting this initiative as part of their 19 Wing Support Program included in the regions 5 year Regional Economic Development Strategic Plan, “This RFP opportunity is very significant and serious, and the distribution of the paper that has been developed not only can support the education of potential bidders who attend shows like this, it also allows various levels of government, as well as our business community and citizens, to understand and communicate why the Comox Valley is the logical choice.”

To learn more about this initiative, and to view paper visit




Name Retiring Ranks
Bob Mortimer Major General (Retired)
Fred Bigelow Brigadier General (Retired)
Bill Neumann Brigadier General (Retired)
Jon Ambler Colonel (Retired)
Terry Chester Colonel (Retired)
Ted Gibbon Colonel (Retired)
Dave Mellin Honourary Colonel
Garry Reaume Colonel (Retired)
David Berry Lieutenant Colonel (Retired)
Joan Gordon Major (Retired)
Dhrur (Ab) Jagat Major (Retired)
Dan Brennan Captain (Retired)

Lara Greasley, Marketing and Communications, 250.334.2427 x 233 / 1.877.848.2427,

About the Comox Valley

Located halfway up Vancouver Island’s east coast, the Comox Valley is well known for its culinary bounty from land and sea. Coupled with arts, music and sporting events, and stunning alpine to ocean resorts and spas, the region is a place of supernatural beauty that offers rich culinary, cultural and outdoor experiences. Comprised of three communities: Comox, Courtenay and Cumberland, and surrounding rural areas of the Comox Valley Regional District, the Destination Marketing Advisory Committee identified in its 2014 plans, an increased focus on creating or expanding destination level events and festivals as an important building block essential for increasing awareness, visitation and economic activity in the region. For more information, visit

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