Commissionaire Warrant Officer Gary Harrington has been the Housing Enforcement Officer at Garrison Petawawa for the past three years. He helps ensure peace, harmony, and order for residents of about 1,600 Residential Housing Units (RHUs). (Submitted photo)

Meet Commissionaire Warrant Officer Gary Harrington, Housing Enforcement Officer at Garrison Petawawa

By: Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday January 25, 2018

As the Housing Enforcement Officer for the past three years, Commissionaire Warrant Officer Gary Harrington is in charge of monitoring the approximately 1,600 Residential Housing Units (RHUs) occupied by military and Department of National Defence contracted personnel and their families.

He is contracted by 4th Canadian Division Support Base (4 CDSB) Petawawa Personnel Services, and works in close partnership with the Canadian Forces Housing Agency (CFHA). His role, in accordance with the Canadian Forces Occupancy Handbook and Garrison Petawawa Administrative Instructions, specifically (AI 5.002), is to assist in monitoring and maintaining an environmentally safe, clean and friendly community to live in.

As Housing Enforcement Officer, he is tasked with a wide range of responsibilities, including enforcing the Garrison Administrative Instructions and the RHU Occupant Handbook and to work closely with local agencies such as the Town of Petawawa Municipal Office and the Petawawa Public Works Office. The Garrison’s bylaws do reflect those of the town, but also have a few additional rules that are specific to the military and their needs.

It is a busy job and no two days are exactly the same.

On a typical day, he could deal with anything from the removal of abandoned vehicles from garrison property to mediating issues between neighbours or writing articles to remind residents of procedures and rules.

“I get the most satisfaction from helping the community improve their quality of life,” said Harrington. “I try to improve people’s lives on many different levels. It might be as simple as getting some snow removed or solving parking problems or dealing with issues that pertain to good housekeeping practices. The solution is often about being proactive rather than reactive.”

Regardless of the reason he is called in or the issue at hand, he prefers to find a common-sense solution and works diligently to establish and maintain positive relationships with the residents. It’s not just about administering a strike notice, it’s far more about maintaining a safe and environmentally friendly neighbourhood by sending an e-mail or knocking on a door to settle a problem.

This allows him to solve the issue while fostering a more positive and friendly environment for residents.

“If I can make a difference by extending myself to our residents, keeping it simple, then I guess that is what it’s all about,” said Harrington, adding that regardless of the situation, people deserve respect and dignity.

As a former soldier himself, he realizes that Garrison Petawawa is a unique place to live and that military families are very busy.

While in the Canadian Armed Forces, Harrington was a Warrant Officer and a proud member of the Royal Canadian Regiment. He admits it prepared him well for the rigours of his current job.

He encourages people to keep up to date with the rules of living at Garrison Petawawa by rereading the Occupancy Handbook, which can be found online at