The Village of Pemberton is moving forward with its purchase of a new triple combination pumper truck for Pemberton Fire Rescue — but the final decision has yet to be made.
At the VOP's regular meeting of council on Sept. 15, council gave the first three readings to a loan authorization bylaw for the new truck, authorizing the VOP to seek a maximum loan of $533,536 through an Alternate Approval Process (AAP).
The AAP must be approved by the province before another resolution is brought to council to kickstart the process.
After an extended discussion about the truck and the impact to taxpayers, council passed the first three readings. Councillor Jennie Helmer was opposed.
"I know that we passed a budget that included this amount for the fire truck, and I don't think it was appropriate," she said. "I don't think we can afford it... it's not acceptable in my mind. It's just too much money."
The impact to each residential taxpayers would be $19.50 annually, based on a $450,000 assessment, according to the VOP.
Council requested more information before making a final decision on the AAP, including an estimate on a "bare bones" truck and a better understanding of the age requirements.
Pemberton fire chief Robert Grossman presented a report on a used fire truck — which would cost about $365,000 — but recommended purchasing new.
Councillor Karen Ross agreed.
"It looks like to me that the new truck is going to provide the most value to the taxpayers, but (I'd like to look) at ways that we can maybe reduce the upfront purchasing cost of that new truck," Ross said. "I'd like to see this new process get started, because I don't want to miss the deadline."
Councillor James Linklater agreed with the points made by both Helmer and Ross.
"I'm mindful of both points, (but) we almost can't afford not to do it," he said. "We have an obligation to protect the community."
The VOP's existing pumper truck will turn 20 years old in March 2016, making it ineligible for first line duty under Fire Underwriters Survey rules. Without a frontline pumper truck, the insurance of homeowners within an eight-kilometre radius of the fire hall would be downgraded from fully protected to semi protected — those living outside of that radius would be downgraded from semi-protected to unprotected — and insurance costs for everyone would rise.
PRESCRIBED FIRE NEAR PEMBERTON; BOULDER CREEK RESTRICTION LIFTED
The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations is doing a controlled burn in the Haylmore area of the Pemberton Fire Zone. The controlled burns will be ongoing until Oct. 30.
The 20-hectare burn will take place about two-kilometres east of D'arcy. The intent is to "burn the forest understory while leaving larger trees intact, and restore the open forest conditions to reduce fire behaviour and enhance berry production," according to the ministry.
During the burns, smoke will be visible around the community of D'arcy, the Devine area, and from the northern portion of the Pemberton Portage road.
Meanwhile, the area restriction put in place by wildfire officials for the Boulder Creek wildfire has been rescinded as of Sept. 15.
The ministry recommends that anyone heading into the area first check conditions of the Forest Service roads on the Sea to Sky District website at www.for.gov.bc.ca/dsq/Engineering/RoadInformation.html.
Check www.bcwildfire.ca for up-to-date wildfire activity.
VOP LEASES AIRPORT LOT
The VOP announced it has successfully negotiated a 30-year lease between itself and Robert Brown for a small lease lot located at the Pemberton Airport. The lot is 31 metres by 100 metres and will house a private airport hangar.
Pemberton Mayor Mike Richman said the announcement isn't huge news, "but it's certainly good news in the sense that our airport hasn't seen a lot of activity in terms of new lease holders there," he said.
"We've got a couple big leaseholders in Blackcomb Aviation and the Pemberton Soaring Club, they're really good tenants there and they're sort of anchoring the airport, but we want to see more of this sort of lease and this sort of private hangar situation happen."
Anyone interested in leasing a lot at the Pemberton airport can call the VOP office at 604-894-6135.