Surging greenback, failing fire truck means Kelowna taxpayers on the hook for more money | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Surging greenback, failing fire truck means Kelowna taxpayers on the hook for more money

Kelowna Fire Department needs $860,000 in additional funds from the city because of a failed fire truck and the surging U.S. dollar.
March 27, 2015 - 7:37 PM

KELOWNA - The plunging Canadian dollar and a failed mechanical assessment on one of its big rigs means the Kelowna Fire Department needs to ask city council for more money.

Fire chief Jeff Carlisle, in a report to council, says the department needs an additional $130,000 to complete the purchase of a fire engine originally estimated at $600,000 CDN. The rising greenback is now worth around $1.26 CDN, boosting the price of the new truck, originally approved in January, by almost 25 per cent

The chief will also be asking for another $730,000 for a brand new truck after one of the others in the lineup, expected to last another year or two, failed its mechanical assessment.

While the chief does suggest a possible redeployment of existing vehicles from the Glenmore and South East Kelowna stations as an interim solution, he also notes it could create “response capacity gaps” in rural areas and result in "public safety concerns."

Addtional reserve trucks in the fleet are become increasingly hard to service, lacking parts that are hard to find because the primary manufacturer has gone out of business. The chief also says the purchase of two trucks may bring down the requested amount through economy of scale. The fire department in early January also took delivery of a new ladder truck stationed at the main hall on Enterprise Way.

The fire department and the city’s finance department have been working to improve the fire equipment capital reserve fund, increasing its annual allocation by $100,000 each year until 2019, doubling it to $800,000.

The department also had to ask for an addtional $125,000 in February to replace one of its bush trucks.

Council will consider the fire department request at the Monday, March 30 council meeting beginning at 1:30 p.m. at city hall.

To contact the reporter for this story, email John McDonald at or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2015

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