Coast Mountains School District to buy two new tractors for Hazelton area

·2 min read

The Coast Mountains School District 82 (CMSD82) is taking snow removal into its own hands due to a lack of contractors in the Hazelton area. During its Dec. 16 meeting, the board voted to earmark just over $160,000 to purchase two tractors.

After the purchase, the school district’s facilities department will be responsible for snow removal at the elementary and secondary schools in Hazelton and the elementary school in Kitwanga.

There is money allocated in CMSD82’s 2020-2021 budget for equipment purchases, but the COVID-19 pandemic has caused uncertainty about how much will actually be available. As a result, the school district plans to finance the tractors over a four-year term with funds from local capital reserves. If the budget allows, CMSD82 could still pay for the tractors in full during the next school year.

Aside from the Terrace tractor, CMSD82’s current tractors both date from the early 1990s and lack the hydraulic capacity to operate newer attachments. They have open cabs and minimal power, meaning they are more suited for summer field maintenance, not snow removal.

In 2016, the school district purchased a John Deere 4066R compact utility tractor for Terrace. That model can accommodate snow blowers, mowers, grass vacuums, a snow blade, four-way bucket and other attachments. The facilities department has found that model effective for all its purposes, including snow removal.

The school district plans to buy the same model for the Hazelton area from PrairieCoast Equipment Inc.. That means that parts and attachments will be consistent across the district so repairs can be done quickly and staff will be familiar with each tractor and the corresponding equipment. CMSD82 plans to buy a loader and bucket for each tractor, bringing the total cost of the order to $164,455.18 after taxes and fees.

Ben Bogstie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Interior News