The City of Charlottetown has spent close to $292,000 to upgrade its snowplow and salt truck fleet.
Council voted unanimously to purchase a 2019 Freightliner tandem dump truck from a company in Matane, Que.
The money was already approved for in the 2018-19 capital budget.
In September, public works went to tender for the purchase of a new truck but received no bids. Management did look at other options but were under the impression the current fleet would last another year.
The current fleet of eight plow/salt trucks is aging, with three vehicles more than 12 years old.
“We have some aging trucks and there is a lot of TLC that they need and it’s really tying up our mechanics’ time to keep our fleet running as they should be,’’ said Scott Adams, manager of the public works department.
The city also uses six loaders bringing its fleet complement to 14 vehicles used to keep the streets clean. Adams said there are always at least eight vehicles on the road plowing in any given snowstorm.
In recent snowfall events, only four plow/salt trucks were operational due to breakdowns. Expecting a long winter, public works asked council to approve the emergency purchase of a plow truck.
“We secured three quotes from various vendors . . . and we chose this one due to timing, how quickly they could get it built, the cost, of course, and (that) they had everything ready to build the truck itself,’’ Adams said.
The public works manager said it’s important to keep in mind vendors don’t keep these types of vehicles in stock very often. They are built as needed.
“They are very expensive pieces of equipment. No one stocks them.’’
Adams expects the new truck to arrive in Charlottetown sometime in February, but more trucks are needed for the aging fleet.
“We’ll be going to council as part of this next budgeting process. Who knows what will come of that but we will be making that request to council to potentially (add) more for the next winter season.’’
Adams said he isn’t concerned about the current fleet making it through the present winter season.
Meanwhile, at council’s regular public meeting on Monday night, Adams informed council that people might notice a change in how sidewalks are cleared of snow. The timing of when some routes are done may have changed because public works crews have taken over the duties from a local contractor.
Still, Adams said there were 13 sidewalk routes done before and that hasn’t changed.