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CFB Cold Lake Thread- Merged

agc

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Thanks for the info guys.  I don't think I'll be trying to make it around on all seasons in my Corolla, but I'll forgo the studs.  I also see that Cold Lake gets about 1/3 the snow that this part of Newfoundland gets.
 

Popurhedoff

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A few things to think about while there, it get very cold and an inline water heater and a battery blanket are a must.  I was posted there for 7 years in the early 80's.

Cheers
Pop
 

Retired AF Guy

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Popurhedoff said:
A few things to think about while there, it get very cold

That's an understatement. December - January -30/40 is pretty normal.

and an inline water heater and a battery blanket are a must.

"inline water heater'? Actually had to look that one up. Everyone I knew had a block heater, but from what I read having both is a bonus. Never used a battery blanket, but I know people who did and they are of a diffident advantage.
Having a heavy duty battery rated for cold weather is a must. Also, when the cold weather starts coming around, make sure you get a proper winter tune-up (e.g.) rad coolant is rated for cold temperatures; oil change, etc.
Make sure you have a shovel and booster cables with you. Having a little winter survival kit (e.g.) blankets, warm clothing, small stove, etc wouldn't be to out of line. Mind you, I did a lot of off-roading and hunting, but storms can come out of nowhere or you end up in the ditch, so having something to keep you warm doesn't hurt.

I was posted there for 7 years in the early 80's.

Hmm, I was there from '84 - '89.

 

Popurhedoff

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Retired AF Guy said:
That's an understatement. December - January -30/40 is pretty normal.
 

"inline water heater'? Actually had to look that one up. Everyone I knew had a block heater, but from what I read having both is a bonus. Never used a battery blanket, but I know people who did and they are of a diffident advantage.
Having a heavy duty battery rated for cold weather is a must. Also, when the cold weather starts coming around, make sure you get a proper winter tune-up (e.g.) rad coolant is rated for cold temperatures; oil change, etc.
Make sure you have a shovel and booster cables with you. Having a little winter survival kit (e.g.) blankets, warm clothing, small stove, etc wouldn't be to out of line. Mind you, I did a lot of off-roading and hunting, but storms can come out of nowhere or you end up in the ditch, so having something to keep you warm doesn't hurt.


Hmm, I was there from '84 - '89.

I was posted there 80-87 with 419 TFTS,  January 81, the average temp for the whole month was -48 and it play hell on vehicles.  As with Retired AF Guy's post above, its all good information.  I will never forget driving with the flat spots from the frozen tires... all nice and sync'd until I hit the gas and the 4 wheel drive/limited slip differental put the tires out of sync... dam bumpy for the first kilometer.

Cheers
Pop
 

BernDawg

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I ran both studded and non studded winter tires while I was posted there. Studded were far superior in my opinion. All seasons won't help you at all. The city has a minimal snow removal policy and the snow is allowed to build up on the roads until it's 3-4" thick, very hard packed and ice covered then they bust it up with a front end loader and haul it away. If you're lucky they do this 2-3 times during the winter. Usually they only do it once or twice. Also, they do not salt, sand yes, salt no.
The battery blanket is a must as well. You can plug your car in all you want but when it gets really cold the battery just doesn't have enough amps to crank the engine over. Just sitting here chuckling to myself remembering unplugging the truck and the extension cord sitting there like a cobra becasue it was so frozen (and that was a winter rated one too boot!)
 

wildman0101

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I'm from Winnipeg. I had a block and inline. Inline Antfreeze. Block Anti,, oil ,, block,, other.
Wind Chill factor -35 ,,,, trying to scrape ice off windshield,, Oh Boy. LOL.. Cheer's. Scoty B
 

eurowing

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Synthetic oil...  everywhere, differentials included. It makes a HUGE difference.
 

agc

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http://m.edmontonsun.com/2014/01/10/rising-housing-costs-at-cfb-cold-lake-prompt-one-soldier-to-busk

COLD LAKE -- Rising housing costs at CFB Cold Lake prompted one soldier to busk for change on a town sidewalk, where dozens of supporters dropped cash into his upturned combat helmet.

Cpl. Darenn Tremblay, 25, with his guitar in hand, set up a cardboard sign outside a local store Thursday night reading: "I am in the Canadian Forces posted to Cold Lake with a family. Any spare change will help."

The young soldier -- from Jonquière, Quebec, and posted in CFB Cold Lake for the past two-and-a-half years -- said he is just trying to make ends meet while sending a message to protest the recent increase on Residential Housing Units (RHU) in the booming oil town that is also home to the military.

"I do that because we don't have any money to pay our rent basically," said Tremblay, who is married.

Part of the problem is the high cost of living in Cold Lake, driven by the area's booming oil and gas industry.

Members of the military in Cold Lake receive a $319-per-month Post Living Differential (PLD) -- an allowance designed to stabilize cost of living for military members with respect to the region they are in. But in Cold Lake, it's lower for members than other military communities, like Edmonton where soldiers receive a $684 PLD per month.

The PLD rates in Cold Lake haven't been readjusted to reflect the current economy in over three years.

Housing costs are up while "our salary stays down and like everybody, we got lots of debts," said Tremblay.

Tremblay and other members living on CFB Cold Lake recently received a letter from the federal government that stated: "Please note that should your shelter charge be reduced to less than the fair market value calculated for your unit, the difference between what you are being charged and the market value is considered a taxable benefit as per the Income Tax Act. This information will therefore be reflected in your T4 slips."

Department of National Defence communications officer, Kathy Roberge, said each year the Canadian Forces Housing Agency (CFHA) administers the shelter charge adjustment process in accordance with governmental and departmental policies and regulations. Roberge acknowledged more is needed for Cold Lake families and said several measures are in place to limit shelter charge adjustments.

"For the second consecutive year, rent increases for CAF families with the lowest income (Privates incentive 1 and 2 and Officer Cadets) will be limited to the national average increase of 2.25 per cent," Roberge said.

There was a 10 per cent reduction applied to the shelter charges in Cold Lake in 2010, authorized by the Minister of National Defence, Peter MacKay, and will continue to be applied during fiscal year 2014/2015.

"However, in spite of the 10% reduction, shelter charges for DND housing in Cold Lake will increase by approximately 6% over the 2013/2014 rates, not including last year's 10% reduction, due to the rapidly growing local economy and high housing demand," Roberge said. The annual shelter charge adjustment for 2014/15 will go into effect April 1.

Tremblay is also trying to keep up with rising bills -- including large heating bills for aging military housing -- by taking on second jobs.

"We keep paying heat bills like crazy," Tremblay said. "Basically we just keep paying more and more forever.
"This is killing me right now. I can barely pay for my food so that's where I am right now."

In 2013, the Ombudsman for the Department of National Defence, Pierre Daigle, reported that between 10 per cent to 35 per cent of CFB Cold Lake workers take other jobs to supplement their income.

Daigle also stressed that CFB Cold Lake has a "high" military release rate -- 8.33 per cent in 2012, and on track to be 12 per cent to 13 per cent in 2013 -- and some Canadian Forces members opted to retire in order to avoid Cold Lake postings.

Tremblay said he was able to manage his finances well before arriving in Cold Lake a couple years ago.

"I had money in my account, now it keeps going down and down and I can't do anything about it," said Tremblay, who witnesses said was later ushered off the sidewalk by military personnel. He has since been told by his commanders not to speak with reporters.

"I was planning on having a child, but I don't want to raise a child in a kind of place like Cold Lake and I could not even pay for feeding them."
 

Edward Campbell

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Halifax Tar said:
Well this will get a response


Maybe, if this government is a little less 'tone deaf" to bad PR than were past ones. I recall when sailors and soldiers in Esquimalt (from the fleet, Dockyard, Naden and Work Point) were going to food banks. There was a bit of hand wringing in the media but it all blew over quickly and the government of the day just ducked and stayed under cover until something else caught the media's eye.
 

Halifax Tar

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E.R. Campbell said:
Maybe, if this government is a little less 'tone deaf" to bad PR than were past ones. I recall when sailors and soldiers in Esquimalt (from the fleet, Dockyard, Naden and Work Point) were going to food banks. There was a bit of hand wringing in the media but it all blew over quickly and the government of the day just ducked and stayed under cover until something else caught the media's eye.

Touché
 

misratah500

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I just got a talk from my CO yesterday about optics. And how we look to civilians and how we have it really good. And he talked to the CDS when he was out here for Regina's departure. The CDS said that our pay and our pension were seen as safe things but in the time of fiscal restraint other perks could possibly be adjusted (PLD, Sea Pay, other small benefits)

The key thing was, he kept coming back to the word "optics" in terms of how the civilians see us. If they see we get all these things then they think it will look bad upon us. That's why other adjustments were made to our navy life, such as sliders, parking changes, blue boat, and work hours extension. It was about optics to the civilians as to why do we get off early and why do we get all these little perks like a free blue boat.

I told my captain it wasn't fair for us to be compared to the civilians. We aren't civilians, they don't go away for up to a 8 months at a time, they don't stand a 1 in 8 duty watch when our ship is low on crew, they don't have unlimited liability. So instead of cutting all these little things back that make the military worth it for some people maybe they could concentrate on explaining to the civilians what we do and why we should have these nice little things.  It seems like no one is going to bat for us sometimes.

I think it took alot of balls with what this guy did and I know he got his bag hammered for it. But desperate times call for desperate measures. I know if they wiped PLD out here in Victoria maybe people would be devastated as is the expense of the housing/rental market here in Victoria.

We had a few chiefs in the discussion saying that they have to be careful how the tread with all these things like PLD and such. Guys with their 20+ years in could just decide to walk out the door and the military would lose alot of experience.

Personally all these changes suck, but I understand kinda why they do it. I mean the military is opening to sacrifice the little things to preserve the big things (pay and pension). I'm happy with my pay and I'm very happy with a pension especially in today's economies. If they were ever to start messing with our pensions though I think I would start to change my mind about the military.  Even though I have too much invested in the navy now to release, but I have guys under me that would have no such qualms on moving onto other sectors of employment. Notibly the Oil/gas industry and trades.
 

Edward Campbell

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Halifax Tar said:


No, just a long memory.

The public doesn't really give a tinker's damn about the military, all the red t-shirts and yellow ribbons are just "feel good" fluff and nonsense. Their "support" for the troops may be a mile wide but it's less than an inch deep.

And politicians care only about what matters to the public.
 

PuckChaser

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This guy made himself a martyr, but I applaud his nuts for standing up for the injustice that is our PLD system. Either they fix PLD, or they start changing the pay scales for troops posted to certain areas to meet market conditions.

I think the issue really is that CFHA is making money hand over fist on sub-standard PMQs that bleed heat in the winter. Its not his rent increase (which critics will say is capped at 25% of his base pay), but that he's probably putting out half that amount or more in heating costs every month.

"Fair market value" should start taking into account the sad state of some of the PMQs. Either CFHA needs to dissolve and get out of RHUs all together, or step up and start providing an actual service to troops posted to bases. Charging $1500 a month for a 1000 sq ft house with no basement and newspaper insulation is just shady.
 

Bruce Monkhouse

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PuckChaser said:
Charging $1500 a month for a 1000 sq ft house with no basement and newspaper insulation is just shady.

Not to mention the place has probably been paid for 1000 times over......
 

dapaterson

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"Making money hand over fist"?

Actually, on revenues of $97M (of which $91M were shelter charges), CFHA ran a $17M deficit in the fiscal year ended 31 March 2013.  (http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/about-reports-pubs/housing-annual-report-2013.page)
 

armyvern

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PuckChaser said:
... Charging $1500 a month for a 1000 sq ft house with no basement and newspaper insulation is just shady.

And don't forget the "taxable benefit" bit for your T4s.  We'll cap your shelter charge at 25% of your "lower than the oil workers in your area" pay, but because those oil workers have driven up the housing market with their great pay, your "fair market value" rent should actually be $1700.00 a month --- so, we're going to further slam you on your T4s with a "taxable benefit" of the $200.00 bucks a month difference ... $1200.00 a year on your taxes.

I think the real issue is that CFHA needs to pull their heads out of their asses.  A 1000 square foot 3 bedroom military PMQ that costs $327.00 bucks a month to heat to 17 degrees because it doesn't have an ounce of insulation in it and 20-25 year old windows IS NOT on par "fair market value" with the modern, updated, insulated, 1000 square foot home that the civilian is living in for 1700.00 bucks a month and heating for relative pennies. 

It's sad and it's been an issue for years.  One of the major things the CF did wrong years ago in handing these things over to a contractor to manage on our behalf IMO.

And PLD ... they promised that this would be reviewed anually.  When exactly did the last review occur?  ::)  It's been years and troops who should be getting much better than they are - are not, and some areas are therefore continuing to receive many more dollars in PLD than they should be.  Time for a review and an overhaul of the PLD system --- and for the formula they utilize for figuring it out to be transparent, factual, and PUBLISHED because I don't know a single serving soul who actually can tell you what that "formula" is.  We all know what it takes into account, but the results always have us scratching our heads as to how they actually formulate those factors.

Disclaimer:  I do not, nor have I ever been posted into a base that receives PLD (less Halifax, but PLD did not exist when I was there centuries ago).  Nor do I require any ... but I`m member of a DINK and I know that if I was early into my career at a place like Esquimault or Cold Lake I would certainly require it.
 

PuckChaser

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Just as an example in Kingston, I paid $71 (equal billing) to heat a PMQ that was roughly 1000 sq ft with no basement. I move to a new build, at 1500 sq ft not including the basement and now pay $57 a month. I consider myself lucky my Q heat was only $71 bucks, original equal billing was well over $90.
 
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