Comox Mayor Russ Arnott is asking residents to keep in mind that many of the out-of-province licence plates in the Comox Valley belong to new families who are in the midst of transitioning to recent postings at 19 Wing. Adobe Stock image

Military relocation behind Island’s many foreign licence plates?

Comox mayor points out now is a time for transition for people in the armed forces

Comox Mayor Russ Arnott is asking the public to consider the possible circumstances before lashing out at people driving vehicles with foreign licence plates in the Comox Valley.

Being a military community, this is the time of year when relocations occur. With that in mind, there are many military families in the midst of moving to the Comox Valley from other parts of Canada this summer, for postings at 19 Wing.

Arnott said he saw a comment from another military member on Facebook and felt it was worthy of bringing to the attention of the community.

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“I’d love to take credit for it, but it was another military member who I know on Facebook, they made a comment, with a picture, so I just wanted to give it some more widespread attention,” he said. “This time of year, military members are travelling back and forth to their new postings, and it is a stressful time for all. When you are uprooted like that and sent to a new location, it’s nice to be welcomed, and not looked at as foreigners. They are here to be part of this awesome community we live in.”

With Canadian Air Force bases in provinces throughout the country, as well as new recruits, there could be newcomers to the Valley from any province or territory.

“Especially with the new recruits, those young people are kind of like the deer in the headlights anyway – first posting, first time away from home – so it’s a big shift for them,” said Arnott. “I just think it’s something for everyone to think about… they are here to live, not just visiting.”

19 Wing Comox base commander, Col. Dany Poitras, said that while this is a quieter summer than usual for postings, kindness is key.

“There are much fewer Canadian Armed Forces personnel moves this year but some essential travel is necessary,” he said. “I ask that all residents of our Comox Valley community follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s direction to be kind, be calm and be safe as the 19 Wing Defence Team continues to perform our vital missions and tasks.”

The Department of National Defence tweeted an advisory July 30, asking residents of military communities for patience and understanding during this transition period.

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