Misconceptions and Fabrications Propagated By PWGSC Website
Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) maintains a website dedicated to Argentia and it is littered with the same historical errors that appear on the Laval High School website. In fact, much of the information is copied from sections of the Laval website without any credit being given to the school or individual authors. Its historical information reads as follows:
The mission of the United States Naval Facility [sic] at Argentia was to provide logistic and material support to its tenant commands. This included repair, maintenance and supply facilities, housing for personnel and machines as well as morale and recreational services. This facility was designated in two areas. The Northside contained all the facilities hangars and most of its maintenance shops and supply buildings, while the Southside was the residential area, containing all barracks, family housing, the Navy Shopping Center, Commissary, library and school, along with the Public Works shops, warehouses and garages [sic].
During the Second World War, it was a vital site for protection of shipping lanes, aerial surveillance of German submarines and was well sustained as a terminus for the American and Allied warships on convoy or escort duty. In all of the North Atlantic coast, Argentia offers one of the few deep water harbours and remains ice free all year round. As a result, it was a point of discharge for cargo vessels and tankers. Fuel and provisions came through Argentia for military forces which were stationed further inland.
Following the end of the Second World War, the Naval Operating Base and Naval Air Station were used for search and rescue [sic]. Between 1968 and 1969, the United States phased out the airport on the Northside and the northern part of the base was vacated by U.S. personnel [sic]. In 1973, the airstrip at Argentia officially closed and the U.S. Air Force relinquished all command to the U.S. Navy [sic]. By this [sic] time the Northside was substantially abandoned and many of the buildings were demolished. The Northside was subleased by the Government of Canada in 1978 while the U.S. Navy continued to occupy the Southside of the base until it was decommissioned in October 1994.
At this [sic] time, the 99-year lease was terminated and ownership of the land was transferred back to the Government of Canada [sic].
Presently Public Works and Government Services Canada is the custodian of much of the Argentia property, excluding 14 hectares of land still used by the U.S. as a radar tracking facility, known as the T-building, and a section of the Northeast Arm Camps. PWGSC is mandated to carry out environmental remediation of the site to the guidelines set out by the Canadian.
Repudiation of PWGSC's Misinformation
Point one: the official name of the American facility was U.S. Naval Facility, Argentia not just “United States Naval Facility.”
Point two: when U.S. Naval Station, Argentia existed, and Fort McAndrew was decommissioned, the Northside contained all the operational facilities as well as a housing area. The Southside became the primary residential area and was comprised of living quarters, shopping facilities, library and school, as well as the Public Works shops, warehouses, and garages.
The Southside became the Primary Tenant Facility after the Northside had been completely phased out in 1975.
Point three: when it was commissioned, U.S. Naval Facility, Argentia was made up of the infrastructure that was located on the Southside only. There was nothing on the Northside, as it had been abandoned after the decommissioning of U.S. Naval Station, Argentia. That is quite different from what PWGSC claimed in the first paragraph.
Point four: “Naval Operating Base and Naval Air Station” should read U.S. Naval Operating Base, Argentia and U.S. Naval Station, Argentia, as they were the official names for particular military operations.
Point five: the statement “Between 1968 and 1969, the United States phased out the airport on the Northside and the northern part of the base was vacated by U.S. personnel” is incorrect. The Northside was phased out between 1969 and 1975. The airfield closed in 1972, but remained open for emergency landings until 1975.
Point six: the statement, “…continued to occupy the Southside of the base until it was decommissioned in October 1994. At this time, the 99-year lease was terminated and ownership of the land was transferred back to the Government of Canada” is also incorrect. U.S. Naval Facility, Argentia was formerly decommissioned and transferred to the government of Canada on Tuesday, September 27, 1994. Since PWGSC became responsible for Argentia, surely it should have published the correct date of decommissioning. Such errors are historically unacceptable.