Duncan’s current ladder truck in use during the fire at the Lewis Street Apartments in January of 2021. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Duncan’s current ladder truck in use during the fire at the Lewis Street Apartments in January of 2021. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Duncan moves forward with plans to purchase new $1.9M fire truck

Current aging ladder fire truck needs replacing

Duncan city council has provided early budget approval for a much-needed ladder fire truck in 2022 to replace the aging once currently used by city firefighters.

At the council meeting on Dec. 13, CAO Peter de Verteuil said there was “some urgency” to receive council’s approval for the new 100-foot ladder truck as soon as possible, mainly due to escalating costs.

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De Verteuil said the most recent quote from Pierce Manufacturing Inc., which makes ladder trucks, for a demonstration model truck is $1,995,000, plus tax, while a comparable demonstration model from a competing company is currently $2,150,000 plus tax.

But de Verteuil cautioned that Pierce’s demonstration model is not on hold for the city, and is available to the first fire department to provide a purchase.

“If the city is not able to secure a demo model, the price increases to $2,350,000 if ordered before Feb. 1, 2022,” he said.

“If ordered after that date, the price increases to $2,491,000 and could be further impacted by changes to the Canadian-American exchange rate. In addition, if a demonstration model is not available, the truck would not be available for another 18 to 24 months, during which time the city would have to continue to maintain the existing ladder truck that has been problematic to keep in service. The demonstration model would be in service within two months.”

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De Verteuil said the city has almost $400,000 in its reserves that could help pay for the new truck, and the rest could be borrowed and repaid over a 20-year period.

He said the city’s partners in firefighting, the Cowichan Valley Regional District and Cowichan Tribes, would also be expected to contribute to some of the costs of the new truck.

“The purchase of a replacement ladder truck will be the city’s most costly expenditure in my time with the city; even more than the city’s share of the Cowichan Aquatic Centre,” de Verteuil said.

“However, it is a critical piece of apparatus to protect our communities, and in partnership with North Cowichan for mutual-aid services, we will have the right apparatus for just about any given scenario.”

Council provided the early budget approval for the new truck.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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