SLRD hoping to get fire truck for less than $160,000 

Garibaldi Volunteer Fire Department Chief Nelson Bastien
  • Garibaldi Volunteer Fire Department Chief Nelson Bastien

In an official notice on Sept. 9 the SLRD advertised it would be seeking $160,000 from taxpayers for a new fire truck.

To get this much money the SLRD was going to charge taxpayers in and around Black Tusk and Pinecrest, an extra $85 annually for 15 years.

But Bastien pointed out only $70,000 was needed to secure a used truck and there was no need for the community to deal with such a marked increase in fees.

The Garibaldi Fire Department needs a new truck because their primary engine is 25 years old and once a fire truck reaches that age, insurance underwriters require it be replaced.

Edgington said the community would still be asked for $160,000 but he confirmed the SLRD was not looking to spend that much.

"We’ve got the loan authorization for $160,000 because that’s based on what the fire chief advised us (in his 2004 budget), what may be needed to get a new vehicle," said Edgington.

"But the bylaw simply authorizes us to borrow up to that amount of money, it doesn’t require us to borrow the whole amount.

"We’re quite prepared, if it’s available, to buy that truck for the $70,000 and we wouldn’t borrow the $160,000, it’s just what we call contingency planning."

The real issue now is time because regional districts have to go through a public process before they can borrow money for a capital purchase.

And the longer this process draws out, the more likely it is the $70,000 truck, which belongs to a fire department on Vancouver Island, might be sold to another group.

"If we were going to do this whole thing and the other truck was sold from underneath us we wouldn’t want to leave the community stranded with the inability to get what they need," said Edgington.

"But if we can’t get the $70,000 truck and we can find another used truck for less than the full amount of the borrowing authorization, then we will do that too."

Edgington said the SLRD would be able to authorize the money for the new fire truck about a month after the community’s views are collated.

Meantime, Bastien and the rest of the fire department have devised a plan just in case somebody tries to buy the $70,000 truck before the SLRD can finish the approval process.

"I’m pretty sure the SLRD’s going to pay for it but if they can’t get it together in time, three of us will buy the truck," said Bastien.

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