North Cowichan to purchase new $1.46-million aerial ladder fire truck. (File photo)

North Cowichan to purchase new $1.46-million aerial ladder fire truck. (File photo)

North Cowichan to buy new $1.46-million aerial fire truck

Vehicle will be stationed at South-End Fire Hall

North Cowichan’s South-End Fire Hall is expected to have a new approximately $1.46 million aerial ladder fire truck in operation as soon as this summer.

Council approved the purchase at its meeting on Feb. 16 after a staff report recommended the municipality buy the new truck from Pierce Manufacturing because the aerial fire truck that is currently stationed at the South-End Fire Hall is near the end of its useful life.

As the municipality is mandated to have two aerial ladder trucks for insurance and safety purposes, the aging aerial truck at the South End Fire Hall will be redeployed temporarily to Chemainus to meet the Fire Underwriters requirement and to provide the added protection of an aerial truck to properties in the municipality’s north end.


An aerial ladder fire truck is a fire truck that is equipped with a self-supporting, turntable mounted and power operated aerial ladder of two or more sections permanently attached to the vehicle.

The staff report, which was prepared by North Cowichan’s finance director Talitha Soldera, said staff contacted two separate companies to obtain pricing on a new aerial fire truck.

“A truck that meets almost all of the specifications, and is readily available, has been found from Pierce Manufacturing,” Soldera said.

“The other supplier contacted could only meet 60 per cent of the required specifications with a stock truck, and building a truck to meet the specifications is a long process currently taking up to two years to complete. The 2022 budget includes $1,700,000 for this truck, with funds coming from reserve. With the discount obtained through the group-purchasing arrangement, Pierce Manufacturing has quoted us $1,458,750 plus tax for the new fire truck.”


Soldera added that approving the purchase of the new truck at this time ensures that it will be on site as early as this summer, and that will result in some budget savings.

In January, the City of Duncan decided to move forward with plans to purchase a much-needed 100-foot ladder fire truck from Pierce Manufacturing in 2022, at a cost of $1,995,000 plus tax, to replace the aging one currently used by city firefighters.

At North Cowichan’s council meeting Mayor Al Siebring asked CAO Ted Swabey how the municipality got such a great deal on the new fire truck, considering the fact that the City of Duncan is looking to pay much more for their new ladder truck.

Swabey pointed out that the two trucks have different specifications, which results in different prices.

“There’s also the fact that Martin Drakeley [the municipality’s manager of fire and bylaw services] spent time seeking out the manufacturers and finding the best deal,” he said.

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