After turning down the donation of an aerial unit from Beaverton firefighters a few months ago, township council has opted to proceed with roughly $60,000 worth of repairs to a spare pumper.
Brock Township Fire Chief Rick Harrison recently confirmed that the 2001 model vehicle is under repair after a pump stopped working.
“The company that makes the pump is no longer around, so we’re having something custom-built,” he said.
He noted that the Township is expected to replace the vehicle with the purchase of a new aerial unit in 2021.
“We need a spare and this truck is supposed to last another three years,” he said.
Back in March, the Beaverton Thorah Firefighters’ Association a donation of an aerial unit following a pair of private meetings with members of council and staff.
The vehicle, a 1993 model, was fully certified and purchased from a local dealer at an undisclosed price.
“The Association has remained committed to working with the Township on a solution to the donation of an aerial device. We understand that there could be implications with the donation although many other options were presented,” a statement from the group read.
“With this said, at this time, the Township has decided not likely to support the aerial device donation or options of currently obtaining one. The donation has been withdrawn as we do not want to waste any more time, for both sides, on this issue, as we have been told the answer would likely be ‘no’ at both meetings that were conducted in the last few weeks.”
The statement continued by noting that members still firmly believe that an aerial device is desperately needed and they will continue to work with the Township, forming a committee to develop a plan for the future purchase.
“The Association does believe that an aerial device is needed as soon as possible and are disappointed a solution could not be reached with the Township to obtain a device immediately…This committee will allow all parties involved to come up with a good solid plan on a brand new elevated device and continue to work in partnership towards this goal, again as soon as possible.”
While some members of council declined to address the issue publically, CAO/Clerk Thom Gettinby explained that accepting the donation could compromise the amount of development charges the municipality could use to fund the purchase of a new unit.
The Development Charges Act of Ontario states, with respect to the determination of development charges, “the increase in the need for service attributable to the anticipated development must be estimated for each service to which the development charge by-law would relate.”
Furthermore, the Act states “the increase in the need for service must be reduced by the extent to which an increase in service to meet the increased need would benefit existing development. The extent to which an increase in service would benefit existing development may be governed by the regulations.”
In a memo to Mayor John Grant, Gettinby wrote that staff have estimated the cost of a new aerial to be approximately $950,000.
“Based on the percentage allocation to the fire department, this would provide approximately $500,000 toward the purchase. On the basis of the consultant’s comments, with a donated aerial in our fleet, this amount would be reduced by at least $250,000 and potentially much lower,” wrote Gettinby.
It continues by noting that the consultant believes it would be difficult to fund a new aerial unit if it is being considered a one-to-one replacement.
“If it is a direct one-to-one replacement, it would be difficult, in his opinion, to defend funding of a new aerial from the development charges. He has further indicated that if the new aerial was included for full, or partial development charge funding under the 2019 background study, the Township would be at risk of the bylaw being appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board,” wrote Gettinby.