Castor cadet squadron suspends training as move to Stettler, Coronation pondered

The Castor cadet squadron has suspended training “temporarily” while the provincial committee of the Air Cadet League decides its fate.

The Castor cadet squadron has suspended training “temporarily” while the provincial committee of the Air Cadet League decides its fate.

Amid renewed talks of relocating the squadron to Coronation or Stettler, the Castor group is in limbo.

The problem that’s plaguing the Castor cadets is the lack of training staff, contends the provincial governing body.

Each squadron needs five staff members, but Castor has just one in commanding officer Phil Ricard, and he’s slated to retire.

Ricard refused to comment to the Independent, and the Air Cadet League has instructed the Castor squadron adult organizers to stay mum and direct all inquiries to the provincial body.

“It’s a matter of demographics and population,” Kevin Robinson, the chairman of the provincial committee, said of the proposed relocation. “Historically, it’s been a struggle (in Castor) … we knew those problems could catch up.”

Robinson reported that the Castor cadets have been facing such problems since before 2006.

But the suspension of training comes somewhat as a surprise, considering the regional cadets were prominent at the Remembrance Day services in Castor just last month.

And at a meeting in September, amid reports the Castor squadron was bound for Stettler, organizers were told that such a step was exploratory and that the group would remain in Castor, at least in the short term.

The squadron includes Stettler members who participated in the town’s Remembrance Day services.

The provincial committee has planned another “town hall meeting” for Castor or Coronation to discuss the future of the Castor cadet squadron.

Robinson said it appears that the two options are to move the Castor squadron or to shut down the local group altogether.

“The viability for Castor is just not there,” Robinson said, though he added that efforts are underway to try to fix the lack of instructional manpower.

“There’s only so long you can keep training suspended.”

Robinson said parents are willing to volunteer, but they aren’t qualified to run the program.

He said he hopes that the governing group will be able to determine a plan of action for the cadets by the middle of January.


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