A new Kootenay Boundary workhorse is on the way after regional directors okayed a loan of $427,000 toward a main engine for the fire department.
“Quite honestly it’s been a challenging year dealing with this whole issue of the truck,” Fire Chief Dan Derby told the Trail Times. “Just this morning (May 21) I was dealing with the builder on some of the details, so we are looking forward to getting the new truck into service later this year.”
The regional fire service, like many locals and their families, found itself in the unenviable position of having to replace a new vehicle -that was not paid off – because it was contaminated by sulphuric acid in the 2018 Trail acid spills.
In this case, the $789,000 main engine had only been on the road since October 2017, and it still had considerable outstanding debt. More so, this immediate and major loss for the service had a rippling effect throughout the fire department because the fleet needed to be re-jigged to accommodate for the central vehicle being suddenly wiped out.
ICBC did cut a $789,000 cheque to replace Engine 4 after it failed an inspection at the insurer’s vehicle bay on Highway Drive in Trail.
However, almost half this money, or $393,000, went to pay off the existing debt on the contaminated truck.
A further $275,000 was set aside for an updated truck needed in the Genelle hall, and the remaining $121,000 was used as a deposit for the replacement engine.
Of note, is that the replacement cost for a 2019 Spartan Gladiator stands at nearly $854,000.
Hence the heavy borrowing Regional District of Kootenay Boundary board directors were forced to green-light through the Municipal Finance Authority (MFA), with equipment financing to be repaid within five years.
As well, this first $427,000 installment only covers the truck’s chassis and pump. The standard practice for acquiring such a highly specialized vehicle is to pay for it in installments, or as each part is custom built.
To cover costs for the body of the truck, the regional board approved a further $305,000 in borrowing for later this year.
The new fire engine is expected to be completely built and arrive in Trail by early fall 2019.
As far as the shuffle of money to pay for a truck at the Genelle station, RDKB spokesperson Frances Maika says that priority has been in the books for awhile.
“The thing with the Genelle truck is that we need to buy a used one,” she explained.
“That’s been outstanding for a while, and these (trucks) are like hen’s teeth, they come up so rarely. So that $275,000 is sitting in an account ready for Dan (Fire Chief Dan Derby) to come to the board and say he’s found an appropriate truck to buy. He has to have that ability to connect to buy one of these, otherwise someone else is going to (snap) it up.”