The Cariboo Regional District (CRD) is looking to replace 14 fire trucks before 2023, including three through an Alternative Approval Process (AAP) in Lone Butte, Forest Grove and Kersley this spring (April 16 deadline). There was already a referendum in the summer of 2018 for two fire trucks for the Interlakes VFD.
Qualified electors in any of the three fire protection areas don’t have to do anything if they are fine with the CRD purchasing the trucks with 10-year financing. Those who are opposed need to submit the official elector response form by April 16.
“Like many local governments across Canada, the CRD is faced with replacing old and aging infrastructure like water lines, sewers and equipment including fire trucks,” says CRD Vice-Chair John Massier.
“We have a lot of fire trucks timing out over the next five years and we have to replace them to keep our fire departments licensed and operating.”
The AAP is as a result of the CRD changing how it purchases trucks by moving to ten-year debt financing rather than five-year financing, for which they need permission from local residents.
“Major purchases like this can have a significant impact on taxes,” Massier explains. “We are doing our best to keep taxes manageable by moving to a ten-year financing model. We are also saving the taxpayers money by holding an alternative approval process as referendums are quite costly.”
During the Interlakes referendum residents voted 98 per cent in favour.
If 10 per cent of eligible voters submit a signed elector response form, the proposal would go to a full referendum.
Local area directors were positive about the proposed replacements.
Willow MacDonald, Electoral Area L Director, says the new engine is a needed replacement.
“I am a big fan of the Lone Butte Volunteer Fire Department and can’t thank them enough for their countless hours of volunteer service.”
Margo Wagner, Electoral Area H Director, thanks the volunteers who serve and protect the community.
“Having equipment that is up to standard is critical for the work the Forest Grove Volunteer Fire Department does.”
Mary Sjostrom, Electoral Area A Director, calls the Kersley VFD an invaluable part of the community.
“I’m pleased this new engine will meet the department’s needs and support them in the selfless work they do as firefighters and first responders.”
ADDITION: We received some requests to further explain why the trucks need to be replaced.
The CRD says to be a legal volunteer fire department, the VFD must follow all the requirements to obtain fire insurance.
“According to fire insurance requirements, fire trucks have an age limit of about 20 years. If they are not replaced at that point, the fire trucks will no longer be certified by the Fire Underwriters. Having certified trucks ensures that taxpayers within the Fire Protection Area receive lower home fire insurance rates.”
Fire apparatus should respond to first alarms for the first fifteen years of service, according to the Fire Underwriters Survey (FUS).
“During this period it has reasonably been shown that apparatus effectively responds and performs as designed without failure at least 95 per cent of the time.”
For the next five years, it should be held in reserve status for use at major fires or used as a temporary replacement for out-of-service first line apparatus, according to FUS, and apparatus should be retired from service at twenty years of age.
After that, the unit may have one or more faults which preclude effective use for emergency service including an inadequate braking system, slow pick-up and acceleration, structurally weakened chassis due to constant load bearing and/or overloading and pump wear, according to FUS.