The Fire Department is using this back-up rental generator after their regular unit lost the ability to produce power during the recent snow storm.

Split opinion means fire department will have to sit with a rental generator for now

After the usual generator failed during the snow storm, the fire department is using a rental unit for the time being.

It’s either protection against future power outages or an expensive addition to the town budget that has no pressing need.

However you may feel about it, the fire department was not successful in receiving a pre-budget approval for an emergency back-up generator.

Fire Chief Trent Bossence says he’s had the generator in mind for replacement for a few years but other projects have bumped it from budgets.

The impact of that postponement came to a head during Kitimat’s intense snowstorm when the power generating part of the generator failed while the department was trying to get its Emergency Operations Centre going. It’s tested regularly and the fire chief said it would have successfully passed its weekly test the Thursday before it failed on Friday.

After working with the District’s electrician it was determined a new, higher capacity generator should be purchased.

One caveat: it would cost $120,000.

Among those against, Larry Walker suggested looking further in to the matter, perhaps doing a bulk buy with Public Works and even the hospital to save money.

He didn’t believe it was an urgent buy.

Mario Feldhoff said he leaned in favour of the purchase but wanted to know more, including the cost of the rental back-up generator currently being used.

He also threw out the thought that saving the $120,000 expense now could mean more money on projects like the Quatsino Walkway proposal.

Claire Rattée, meanwhile, supported the expense, saying the snowstorm was unanticipated.

“We were screwed over,” she said about the issues that came attached to the storm, particularly the fire hall losing power. She didn’t want to see a repeat if there was another storm.

To a vote it was Edwin Empinado, Walker and Feldhoff  against, and Mary Murphy, Rattée, and Rob Goffinet in favour.

Not receiving pre-budget approval brings the request to the main budget debate in the weeks to come.


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