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

Waterfront Fleet Club at CFB Esquimalt the site of many memories

Longtime junior ranks mess forced to move, structural integrity compromised

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

Just Posted

International Students get a taste of Christmas at Belmont

Gingerbread house contest runs for third year

SD61 to install new water fountains over lead concerns

They’re installing 350 new water fountains in local schools due to concerns over elevated levels of lead in the water system

West Shore firefighters band together to support men’s health

More than $8,200 raised for Movember campaign

Holiday gift wrapping tips and tricks

Streamline your process to avoid the hassle

SD61 dress code still a debate

Trustee encourages parents to speak up at Dec. 18 meeting, represent a progressive voice

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Family suspends search for missing Alberta couple, plane near Revelstoke

Due to bad weather, families of missing Albertan couple say they will resume in the spring

Canadian grocers make $3M per year from penny-rounding: UBC study

Ottawa announced plans in 2012 to phase out the copper coin

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

B.C. anti-hate campaigner finds Google search on his efforts redirects to porn

Text from online news article about Cran Campbell being used to link to suspect websites

‘The Last Jedi’ opens with $220M, 2nd best weekend all-time

As anticipated, the movie fell shy of the opening weekend for J.J. Abrams’ 2015 franchise reboot

2 couples tie the knot in Australia’s 1st same-sex weddings

West Australian couple Anne Sedgwick, Lyn Hawkins have been together for 40 years

UPDATED: Truck collision injures cyclist in Saanich

Police continue to investigate a collision between a truck and a cyclist… Continue reading

Most Read