Enniskillen says no to new $1.4 million fire truck

406

Blake Ellis/Local Journalism Initiative

The purchase of a $1.47 million pumper/tanker truck for the Petrolia and North Enniskillen Fire Department will not be going ahead.

Enniskillen Township voted to reject the purchase at its Aug. 21 meeting. 

“We can’t just go to the money tree. We need to budget for it,” said Councillor Mary-Lynne McCallum, noting the tanker was to be replaced in 2026 while the pumper is to be replaced in 2029.

The management committee of the Petrolia and North Enniskillen Fire Department recommend replacing two aging trucks, the tanker and pumper, with one unit. The truck would have been ordered now and delivered in 2026. The old trucks are to be sold within six months of the new unit in 2026. The Town of Petrolia approved the purchased at a special meeting on Aug. 16.

The concern for some councillors was the additional cost of purchasing a dual use vehicle instead of simply buying what is traditionally the lower cost tanker.

Councillor Wally Van Dun was also against the purchase of the truck, saying he had tried research the cost of just a tanker by talking to sales representatives and looking at websites, but he hasn’t received a price yet.

Petrolia and North Enniskillen Fire Chief Jay Arns told council it would cost $975,000 to purchase a tanker.

He believes it is fiscally responsible to purchase the combined unit. Buying two fire trucks would be significantly more money in the end, – an estimated $1.4 million – while prices have increased by 40 percent in the past year due to inflation, he said.

Van Dun couldn’t believe the fire department couldn’t get a tanker that would be lower than $975,000. 

Arns said the department’s existing 1996 tanker is past its expected 25 year life cycle.

In terms of the bigger picture, purchasing the new unit would increase safety, as the new combined unit would be better up to date with safety regulations.

Aside from the cost of the new tanker/pumper unit, there is still concern Enniskillen is paying more than its fair share of the fire costs.

Enniskillen Township currently pays 40 percent of the cost of the fire department and Deputy Mayor Judy Krall wants to see Enniskillen’s portion lowered to better reflect the number of calls in the municipality compared to Petrolia. Over the past five years it varied from 25 to 35 per cent of the calls.

Had Enniskillen approved the new vehicle, it would have been on the hook for 40 percent of the cost of the new truck, which would be just over $600,000.