The City of Charlottetown has added close to $1 million to its 2018-19 capital budget with the purchase of a new fire truck.
The decision was made during a meeting Wednesday night in which council was gathering to discuss its operational budget, which comes down next week.
Council voted unanimously on the purchase.
The fire truck will cost approximately $910,000 and will replace a vehicle that is close to 30 years old. The Fire Underwriters Survey, a national organization that specializes in this work, had recommended the city replace the aging vehicle. It’s also the same organization that is considering whether Charlottetown should operate with two fire stations or three.
Coun. Jason Coady, chairman of the protective and emergency services committee, said it will be about 12 to 18 months before the fire truck is actually working in the city since it’s not as easy as going down to the local car lot and making the purchase.
The question is, why wasn’t this purchase part of the city’s original capital budget that was approved on Monday night?
Coady said Thursday that council came into some “new information’’ at Wednesday night’s meeting.
“The (fire) chief let us know that it was supposed to be replaced a while ago in a report that was written and, based on best practices, it was time to be replaced,’’ Coady said.
“It may have come down to a little bit of miscommunication, to be honest.’’
Coun. Melissa Hilton, chairwoman of the finance committee,
explained that while council had received a report back from Fire Chief Randy MacDonald, the city was holding off while it decided whether it was going to go with two fire stations or three.
The city currently has a fire station on Kent Street and one in Sherwood. It is also looking at putting one out on Malpeque Road for the West Royalty area.
Council first wants the underwriters to recommend whether opening the West Royalty station means closing the Sherwood one. Hilton is one of the councillors who wants the Sherwood station to remain open.