Canadian Firefighter Magazine

BV council balks at $650,000 cost to replace failing pump truck

By Debbi Christinck, Local Journalism Initiative   

Headlines News Hot Topics fire truck

May 23, 2024, Eganville, Ont. – The “old reliable” 1993 fire department pump truck failed inspection, but the potential cost of replacing it at about $650,000 has Bonnechere Valley council balking.

“Knowing where our tax rate is going to sit and the terrible situation so many people are in right now, I think even the idea of buying a new pumper does not fit in to where we want to go in this municipality right now,” Mayor Jennifer Murphy said last Tuesday. “People just can’t afford it, whether we debenture for it or not.”

Fire Chief Darryl Wagner had told council the ’93 pumper had “failed miserably” during a test done by an external company. As a result, he was quietly putting out feelers to see what could be done. However, there are options, he said.

“There are stock trucks; you can get them rather quickly,” he said. “Or we can look at a used one.”

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The truck in Foymount is a 2002 and the one in Eganville is a 2012, he said.

Mayor Murphy pointed out the ’93 is the back-up pumper in the Eganville hall.

“The front line cannot be older than 20 years,” she said.

This is part of legislation and the municipality has no say on this.

Chief Wagner said it could be quite expensive to repair the 1993 pumper.

“We can sink a pile of money in it,” he said.

“Sometimes you are throwing good money after bad,” he added.

Mayor Murphy pointed out the ’93 pumper was the better one in the department and has proved to be very reliable.

“That is the best truck we have,” she said of the 31-year-old vehicle.

“It was built to last,” she said. “I think definitely a quote on repairing it and feelers for other options.”

Chief Wagner said buying new would be about $650,000 for a replacement pumper truck.

Councillor Brent Patrick, who was chairing the meeting, suggested Chief Wagner come back to council in two weeks with options, including the cost of repairing the existing truck.

Mayor Murphy said taxpayers are under a lot of pressure and this is a major expense, which is something ratepayers can’t afford. She said she would like to see a quote on repairing the truck. The truck has been very dependable over the years, she pointed out.

“Even when there were problems with the 2012 over and over again, that ’93 served as the front-line pumper,” she said.

As well, the fire chief does have some leeway in his budget for repairs, she said.

Chief Wagner said he could look at a used one, but it was not a good idea to have a bunch of old fire trucks from the 1980s. He said he would look for trucks from 2000 on.

He also pointed out the quote could be quite expensive to repair it.

“But we have to start somewhere,” he said.

Busy Month of April

The fire department is still very busy with 16 calls in the month of April, he said in his report.

“A lot of them are false alarms, but they still have to be captured,” he said.

The department also has two new recruits and the junior firefighter program has reached capacity, Chief Wagner said.

“We are up to possibly 10 in the Junior Firefighter Program,” he said. “We are going to stop it at 10.”

He said they can possibly open a new group if there are more interested applicants.

“At some point we will bring in their parents to see what they are learning,” he remarked.


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