The Whitehorse Fire Department is asking the city for a $65,000 increase to the budget for a new rescue pumper truck.
The truck was originally budgeted in 2012 at a total of $675,000. That covers the cost of a new fire truck, as well as specialized hydraulic rescue tools.
The city had plans to buy the truck from U.S.-based Safetek Emergency Vehicles. Up until this past October, that estimate was considered accurate, but since then, with the Canada-U.S. exchange rate dropping by about five per cent, the price of the truck has risen to $721,150.
Deputy fire chief Kevin Lyslo explained the increase to city council on Monday night.
The cost increase is beyond Safetek’s control, Lyslo said.
Coun. Kirk Cameron expressed concern over the increase, and he asked whether there are any alternatives to the hydraulic equipment that the city could look at.
“What exactly is the related apparatus for and just how critical is that apparatus either now, or could it perhaps be put off until next fiscal year?” Cameron asked.
The tools the department chose to outfit the new truck with were chosen specifically because they can integrate with other tools the department already has, as well as with the rescue crews at the Whitehorse airport.
“In the event of a serious incident, combining forces to deal with any kind of an incident we can seamlessly integrate tools from all of Yukon’s various departments,” Lyslo said.
The city needs to purchase the new truck now, Lyslo explained, to accommodate other aging equipment in the department’s fleet. It could hold off on purchasing the tools and save $60,000, but that would only be kicking the can down the road.
“One alternative to purchasing the tools along with that is to wait another year, but the cost of the tools will probably go up,” Lyslo said.
On top of that, having Safetek install the tools at the factory would increase their effectiveness. If the tools are added after, they wouldn’t be able to reach as far from the truck itself, Lyslo explained.
The increase Lyslo is asking for includes a 2.5 per cent contingency buffer.
City council will vote on Lyslo’s recommendation next Monday.
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