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Metchosin approves $100,000 to spend on new fire truck

Fire chief said the new vehicle doesn’t even need to be red
Council approved $100,000, including retrofits, for Metchosin Fire Department to buy a replacement truck. (Metchosin Fire Department/Facebook)

Council approved $100,000 in spending money for the Metchosin Fire Department to buy a new truck to replace the current Battallion 1 truck, because the vehicle is no longer reliable.

An accident caused damage to the truck which is repairable, but repairs would be costly and not worth it since the truck was scheduled to be replaced in 2022 anyways, according to Metchosin Fire Chief Stephanie Dunlop. In the meantime, Dunlop said the fire department has occasionally been using other municipal vehicles like the building inspector’s truck, but they are not up to standard, including not having proper safety lights.

Metchosin council decided to unanimously support her request that capital funding gets assigned from the 2021 budget to allow the fire department to start looking for a suitable vehicle as soon as possible. With the price range given by council, the department was eyeing a Ford F-150 to become the department’s primary response vehicle.

Mayor John Ranns expressed concern about rushing into a purchase for a truck that might not be able to meet the demands of the job.

“You won’t get the gas mileage,” he said. “It’s underpowered and it’ll be under strain.”

Dunlop said fellow fire department staff had assured her the truck should be up to the task. She added that staff had been scouring the province for a suitable vehicle, but those were hard to find.

“We aren’t looking for that one particular truck to come down the pipeline,” she said. “It doesn’t even have to be red, quite frankly.”

Coun. Kyara Kahakauwila said the market for trucks “is crazy” and that finding one could take an extended period of time.

Council ultimately approved up to $100,000 to be spent on a new truck, with an amendment saying $80,000 should be spent on the initial cost of the vehicle, with the rest going to upgrades equipping the vehicle to be used as a fire truck. Staff were directed to deal with ICBC to find the best deal for the taxpayer in regards to insurance claims on the old truck.

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