Telkwa’s fire engine is reaching near the end of its life, but council does not want to move up purchasing a new one to this year from 2024. Chris Gareau photo

Telkwa’s fire engine is reaching near the end of its life, but council does not want to move up purchasing a new one to this year from 2024. Chris Gareau photo

Telkwa council rejects request for early purchase of new fire truck

Discussion on moving up replacement of 20-year-old engine deferred to 2021 budget deliberations

Telkwa council has rejected a bid by the fire department to get a new truck four years ahead of schedule.

At its Aug. 13 meeting, council received a recommendation from Fire Chief Laurence Turney to replace Engine 11 in 2020 instead of 2024.

The engine is currently 20 years old. Insurance regulations require front line vehicles to be under 20, but extensions are available with additional annual service testing. Telkwa Fire Rescue is currently applying for an extension.

The chief’s report argued that by using a portion of the $3.59 million Northern Capital and Planning Grant (NCP) the village received this year, the village and Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako could save more than $100,000 by buying now.

Those potential savings were based on a $50,000 discount for purchasing an already built unit at $550,000 instead of the $600,000 budgeted for 2024, and $55,585 in interest payments the village would incur by borrowing its (57 per cent, or $312,000) portion of the truck’s cost.

The purchase would have required the village to request the regional district also dip into its NCP funding to the tune of $238,000.

Council decided to defer the discussion to fiscal 2020-2021.

“There’s lots of different things we’re going to look at, and that’s why we moved it to the budget discussions,” said Mayor Brad Layton.

Those things include looking at leasing, which he said would allow them to move the expense into operating budget instead of being a big capital purchase every 20 years.

“The big thing, though, is there just didn’t seem to be an appetite right at this time,” he said. “The earliest we would do something is 2021.”