City council has given early budgeting approval for a new $1.2 million ladder truck in a vote of four in favour, three against during the regular council meeting on Tuesday, May 28.
Mayor Walt Cobb, Coun. Ivan Bonnell and Coun. Marnie Brenner voted against, the other four councillors voted in favour, carrying the motion.
During the committe of the whole meeting the week before, council deliberated on the item, with councillors in support of giving early approval hopeful the City
The Williams Lake Fire Department is wanting to replace its existing 1998 75-foot ladder truck, said Erick Peterson, fire chief and director of protective services, in a report council received at its May 21 committee of the whole meeting.
“As our City continues to develop larger and taller infrastructure, the ability to reach multi-story buildings for rescue and firefighting is clearly highlighted,” Erickson said.
Peterson said the Fire Underwriters of Canada states that for a community the size of Williams Lake the apparatus should be replaced at 15 years of age, but continues to receive a five-year insurance credit as a backup and then five years as a reserve.
Approval at the committee of the whole meeting for the new ladder truck was endorsed by councillors Sheila Boehm, Marnie Brenner, Scott Nelson, Jason Ryll and Craig Smith, while Mayor Walt Cobb and Coun. Ivan Bonnell voted against.
Nelson said the fire department has $204,000 in its reserve account and as council is aiming to pay cash for big expenditures rather than borrowing he is confident council can plan ahead.
Coun. Ryll said putting the purchase off it puts the community at risk.
Coun. Bonnell argued the truck is still performing to specifications and the community is not at risk by not replacing it.
“I don’t think it should be replaced until it is 25 years old,” Bonnell said,
Mayor Cobb said he felt the City could still be saving the money for the new truck without having to approve the item in 2020.
Having good equipment is important to ensure safety, Coun. Brenner said.
“I wonder if the fire department should have a fundraising gala like the hospital,” she added, to which Coun. Boehm responded, “or a calendar?”