Balgonie’s fire department will have to wait a little bit longer before a decision is made on how soon its oldest truck will be replaced, but town council has sent a clear message the matter will be addressed sooner than later.
Mayor Frank Thauberger said at Monday’s council meeting that once the new truck is purchased it will take 10 months to be built to the specifications requested and delivered. An estimated cost for the truck is $400,000. While the RM of Edenwold has been contributing to the annual operations of the Balgonie Volunteer Fire Department, plans for a new fire hall in Emerald Park will put an end to that arrangement, Thauberger said.
“That will have to come out of our tax dollars,” Thauberger said. “We’ve had a program where we put money away for this every year.”
Depending on when the new truck is purchased and payments required, the funds could be taken from existing reserve funds the town has saved up for this purchase, as well as funds from the 2021 budget year.
Following the meeting, town administrator Karen Craigie clarified that the town and the RM have a five-year agreement around regional fire protection that runs through Dec. 31, 2022, and will be renegotiated as needed following the development of the RM’s proposed fire hall in Emerald Park. She added that the town may also yet receive a contribution toward the capital costs once a decision to purchase has been made, as she said town council would consider requesting a contribution from the RM at that time.
For firefighter and councillor Dwayne Meier, the new truck couldn’t come fast enough as the old truck, also known as “25”, has limited capabilities.
“It’s been leaking a lot of oil and there have been pump issues,” Meier said. “We went out to a fire recently and the pump didn’t activate. Just recently, we went out to Edenwold for a residential structure fire and we didn’t take it initially.”
When the truck was eventually called out to the scene, it was because of equipment stored on the truck, and wasn’t used as a pumper.
Meier said the town still has the ability to call in the White City and Pilot Butte fire departments for help when needed, but getting a fully-functional pumper truck is a priority.
“For me, it’s definitely not a pumper that’s benefiting anyone right now,” Meier said.
As there will be a delay from the time a new truck is purchased and delivery, several options were debated. If the costs aren’t prohibitive, the old truck could be repaired for one last run of service before a new one is purchased in upcoming months. Or another pumper could be leased as a stop-gap measure while a new truck is built.
Council agreed that further information on the feasibility of either option was needed, and a decision was deferred to the next council meeting.
Deputy Mayor chosen
Lain Lovelace was selected deputy mayor of Balgonie for a one-year term, retaining the post he held prior to the municipal elections held Nov. 9.
Keith Borkowsky, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Quad Town Forum