Price of fire trucks rising, Big Lakes council hears

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Rising costs of new fire trucks has forced Big Lakes County to chip in more money for a new fire truck now on order for Faust.

At its regular meeting Oct. 25, council approved a motion to increase capital funding by $65,500 for a new urban interface pumper truck for a total of $742,000 in the final budget.

Council approved capital funds for the new truck at the 2023 final budget meeting in the amount of $676,500 with no contingency, says Pat Olansky, director of community planning and protective services.

“At the time of the budget approval, administration was working on estimates and had not issued an official request for proposal or contact.”

Since the original estimate in fall 2022, the price of the truck increased by 10.1 per cent, she notes.

Fire chief Jason Cottingham says the new price is the final price of the truck which should arrive by May 1, 2025.

“The truck will be delivered within 18 months, price guaranteed,” Cottingham says.

He confirmed to council that he would order the truck after council approved the recommendation.

County administration discussed the truck with the manufacturer in August, Olansky says.

The manufacturer indicated the price would be higher than the original estimate in fall 2022.

“After the August meeting, to bring it to tender and create a request for proposal, we still needed the manufacturer to provide the chassis specifications which are dependent on supply chain issues to see what chassis were available when the truck can be constructed,” Olansky says.

She explains why prices continue to rise.

“All fire services are struggling to acquire apparatus as the demand has not changed but the supply challenges have,” Olansky says.

“This issue is not unique to fire services.

“All industries are struggling to meet supply and demand issues.

“Given the volatility in the fire apparatus marketplace, it is very difficult to forecast out, with certainty, the price point of apparatus.”

She notes several factors.

Supply chain issues are still prevalent in the marketplace.

Inflation within Canada and the United States continues.

Interest rates affect the Canadian and U.S. dollars.

Delivery time for a fire truck has increased from 12-13 months to 18-48 months.

Most of the major components of a fire truck come from the U.S. and purchased in U.S. dollars.

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