Council approves $120K purchase for new fire hall generator

A replacement back-up generator purchase has been approved for Kitimat's Public Safety Building.

Council has approved $120,000 for the purchase of a new back-up generator for the fire hall.

The Public Safety Building’s back-up generator failed during February’s intense snow storm, but concern over how to get the most cost-effective option to replace it held up an immediate purchase.

Staff, under direction, returned to council May 4 with a report of potential replacement options, with the $120,000 purchase of a brand new generator being the preferred.

Councillors were also presented with an $80,500 option to replaced the generator with a new-to-us model, which would still be a higher capacity unit than the one currently sidelined.

Among the issues with that is that there were no used generators on the market to the best of the town’s knowledge, and there was concern that, being used, there would be elevated maintenance costs.

A third option would have been to simply fix the existing unit. Even with just a $4,000 cost, the town, in their report, said due to the generators age it would still be unreliable, parts are hard to come by, and the generator still would not meet all of the building’s power needs, which neither does the existing back-up generator.

Finally the fourth option would be to continue leasing a back-up generator. The fire chief said in his report that it would cost $25,200 a year to continue with that.

The vote was unanimous in support for the purchase (minus Larry Walker who was absent for the meeting), but in one case it was somewhat reluctantly.

“I still feel I’m a little uneasy in terms of the options that’s been presented,” said Mario Feldhoff. “[But] it would appear that no matter what type of unit we get we’re going to be faced with similar cost in installation… I’m still not convinced we have the best option…but will vote in favour of the report.”

Edwin Empinado said that $120,000 for 20 years of reliable power generation at the fire hall was a worthwhile expense.