Morinville Council approves replacement of fire and rescue unit

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – The Morinville Fire Department will be getting a new fire and rescue truck to replace its aging 1993 model after Council unanimously approved spending up to $850,000 to acquire a new unit.

Unit 5, which is used in 90 per cent of the department’s calls, has a life expectancy of 20 years, and was scheduled for replacement in 2013. Based on the department’s five-year average, Unit 5 responds to as many as 325 calls per year.
Morinville’s Chief Administrative Officer, Andy Isbister, said the fire and rescue vehicle is charged out to Alberta Transportation and neighbouring municipalities when it is sent on a call. Last year’s billing resulted in $74,010 coming back into the department’s coffers. Conservative estimates of $50,000 per year in billing would see the new unit paid for on a cost recovery basis over its two-decade life expectancy.

Isbister said the US economy and low American dollar has created a situation where American manufacturers are eager for business, a combination of market conditions that could save the Town of Morinville considerable monies by ordering the truck now.

In response to a question from Councillor Lisa Holmes as to what would happen to the existing fire and rescue unit, Morinville Fire Chief Ron Cust said the plan is to sell the 1993 truck. “This particular unit has shown some interest in other communities,” Cust said, noting the truck may be perfect for a smaller community. “We’re thinking about $20,000 to $25,000 for it.” Whatever amount the Morinville Fire Department gets for the old unit, the funds would go into reserves.
Although proposed to be purchased in 2012, the new unit would be part of Morinville’s 2013 budget and funded completely through Alberta Municipal Infrastructure Program (AMIP) funding. Isbister said a firm price and exchange rate would be confirmed prior to discussing Budget 2013. Cust said past negotiations with the Town’s new ladder truck have set a precedent where he expects the department will get the truck it needs for well under the $850,000 price tag. Whatever that amount ends up being, Isbister said he is confident the purchase does meet AMIP funding requirements. “This is money well spent and it is in the right pocket,” Isbister said.

Now that Council has approved the purchase, it is expected requests for proposal will be sent out to suppliers by the end of April, and that tenders would close mid-June of this year. It is anticipated the new truck would be received and commissioned in June of 2013.

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