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The Morning After with Municipal District of Bonnyville Reeve Greg Sawchuk

Posted by Lakeland Connect on Thursday, August 13, 2020

M.D. wrestling with keeping firetrucks longer

A BRFA firetruck with low mileage was approved to sell at M.D. council last week, but moving forward the municipality is exploring whether there can be flexibility and savings for taxpayers on purchases.

Firetrucks might not be replaced as quickly for the Bonnyville Regional Fire Authority as the M.D. of Bonnyville reviews policies on their equipment.

The M.D. of Bonnyville has looked at purchasing new fire trucks as per policy, but debate arose during last Wednesday’s council meeting on the necessity to make the purchases, as well as the possible side-effect selling the older trucks, could produce.

The Bonnyville Regional Fire Authority (BRFA) states that all emergency response equipment, including fire trucks, must be updated every 15 years to ensure the equipment remains reliable.

However, at last Wednesday’s council meeting, the M.D. sold a firetruck to the Town of Gibbons that was originally purchased in 2004, and still has fewer than 50,000 kilometres.

That’s giving M.D. council some pause on whether there is more life to these units than the current policy allows.

“And that’s what we want administration to do is come back with an answer of is it worthwhile for us to re-certify these units, hold on to them for an extra five years, and still sell them off a few years later.”

“Really the only part that has to be considered in this case is the pump and getting it re-certified,” said Reeve Greg Sawchuk on The Morning After.

Councillor Dana Swigart voiced some opposition to the idea.

“In the past, we would have older trucks at the Ardmore Fire Hall that we’d sometimes have to push across the highway, and other times we’d arrive at the scene only for some kind of issue to pop up that prevents you from responding to the emergency,” said Swigart.

“With these older trucks, you’re taking a chance.”

Councillors also debated selling these older trucks to another community, feeling that doing so would simply “pass the buck” and whether it made more sense to re-certifying pumps vs replacement since the value of the units have depreciated.

“We’d be selling a unit which we bought for $500,000 for an approved price of $40,000. That’s quite a depreciation for a unit that may have easily under 50,000 kilometres on a chassis that was built for 500,000 kilometres,” said Sawchuk.

“Once you’re down to $40,000 for a unit, you’re down to next to nothing, so if we can extend the life of those units already in our possession, then we’re going to entertain that notion.”

The price of two new fire trucks for 2021, the next time for replacement, was estimated at around $1.16 million at Wednesday’s meeting.

There are 26 firetrucks within the Bonnyville Regional Fire Authority, said Sawchuk.

About Chris Lapointe

Chris is a two-time Vancouver Film School graduate, where he originally studied screenwriting and video games. Returning home to the lakeland post-graduation, he was determined to put what he learned to use. He brings with him a laid-back attitude and a love for pop culture that he hopes can be injected into Lakeland Connect's publications.