The presence of 19 Wing Comox creates significant and ongoing economic impacts for the Comox Valley and is the largest economic generator in the region. Data provided by the Base shows that it currently employs more than 1,600 people who earn about $55 million per year. Annual spending on ongoing maintenance and repair, as well as some significant infrastructure upgrades (e.g. $26 million for a new mess building) will average an additional $40 million per year for the next five years.
A simple input-output analysis based on these figures suggests the total employment impact from the base, including all of the indirect and induced impacts, is about 2,100 permanent jobs in the Comox Valley. The significant infrastructure improvements in the next few years will support an estimated 120 full-time-equivalent jobs per year, depending on exactly how much of the spending goes to local contractors and suppliers. The total annual economic output generated by the Base in the next five years will be about $170 million per year in BC, much of this spent in the Comox Valley. Further, the federal government paid about $2.4 million in PILT (payment in lieu of property taxes) to the Town of Comox in 2011, the majority of which is from 19 Wing. This is a significant contribution to local government finances (although the Town only captures a portion of these funds with some allocated to school taxes, hospital district, etc.).
In addition to these impacts, the Wing is the reason the Comox Valley has such an exceptional airfield and it leases land for the civilian Comox Valley Airport, which has its own very substantial economic impacts not just in the Comox Valley, but throughout central and northern Vancouver Island.
There are also an estimated 3,000 retired military personnel residing in the Comox Valley, many of whom start second careers or make significant contributions to the community by volunteering their time and expertise.
Fixed Wing Search and Rescue
The Comox Valley has been actively positioning itself and 19 Wing Comox as a strategic location of the Fixed Wing Search and Rescue (FWSAR) replacement project the Federal Government is undertaking. To learn more about the region’s strategic advantages relative to FWSAR click here.