Kimberley Fire Department members in front of one of the trucks at the downtown Station 1. Facebook file

Kimberley Fire Department members in front of one of the trucks at the downtown Station 1. Facebook file

No new truck bays for Kimberley Fire Department

Cost estimate came in over 100 per cent higher than expected

When Kimberley Council was first presented with the 2022-2026 Capital and Non-Capital Plan this fall, there was an round figure estimate of $600,000 for the construction of three new firetruck bays in the parking lot adjacent to city hall.

The practical reason for the new bays is that the current bays are too short for modern firetrucks. As such, when they are scheduled for replacement — which one of Kimberley’s is in 2023 — custom made shorter trucks have to be ordered. Kimberley’s ladder truck is housed at Station 2 in Marysville. Fire Chief Rick Prasad believes it should be stationed closer to the downtown core.

When the figures were first presented Coun. Jason McBain noted the round number and wondered how accurate it was. Turns out he was right to question it. An architect consultant has now provided a more solid estimate that comes in a full $736,509 over at $1,336,509. Prasad says rising inflation and shortage of workers due to the pandemic led to the much increased estimate.

“COVID really kicked us in the butt,” he said. “Costs have gone out of sight.”

With those numbers the project will be pulled from next year’s capital budget.

Without the new bays, the custom fire truck will cost up $212,656 more. When it is purchased in 2023 it will cost $812,656. The purchase cannot be deferred beyond 2023 because of the age of the truck.

Chief Prasad is working on a long range plan for the Fire Department. It will look at costs of upgrading one of the fire halls, or amalgamating both of them into one facility, perhaps a multi use facility that could house fire, Search and Rescue and ambulance, as well as short term solutions.

“There are all different kinds of options for modern fire halls,” Prasad said. “The question is where and on what land?”

Mayor Don McCormick said it might be wise to look at that rather than short term fixes.

“With costs going up and inflation being a serious issue, we should look at doing it right up front.”

He also noted that combining more services into one building could provide more grant opportunities.

READ: Overall response numbers for Kimberley Fire Department lowest in years: report

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