The cost of repairing the three curbside collection trucks the Cowichan Valley Regional District uses to pick up garbage and recycling materials from more than 13,800 homes in the district is approximately $226,000.
Doug Stevens, the CVRD’s manager of solid waste operations, told the district’s committee of the whole meeting on July 13 that the truck that experienced a full engine failure and fire on May 30 had to have the engine completely replaced at a cost of almost $66,000, and the grabber arms on all three trucks are considered beyond reasonable repair and have to replaced at a cost of more than $160,000.
“The grabber arms are required to pick up and tip recycling and garbage into the trucks,” Stevens said.
“Failure to carry out the replacement of the grabber arms will result in continuous hydraulic spills on public and private properties and will result in ongoing service disruptions.”
Stevens said manual collection is not an option due to the configuration and weight of the collection containers.
“Currently, all three trucks are in significant need of repair and have exceeded their expected life cycle by over two years,” he said.
”Truck replacements are not expected until July, 2024.”
The CVRD announced in June that the curbside pick up of garbage and recycling materials on a number of its routes had to be postponed or cancelled until the repairs on the three trucks were completed.
Ian Morrison, director for Cowichan Lake South/Skutz Falls, said he’ll support the CVRD paying for the repairs, but he has concerns over the costs.
“Clearly, we’re going to be fixing some trucks that we’ll be retiring almost immediately afterwards,” he said.
“Is there any chance of the supplier bumping up the delivery dates on the new trucks? This is a quarter of a million dollars that we’re going to be putting into these trucks so what residual value will there be in [these vehicles] when we dispose of them?”
Stevens said his department has contacted the supplier to see if there was any way the new trucks could be delivered earlier, but was told they could not.
“It’s a 22 to 24 month turn out to get these trucks into our operations here, so our current trucks will have to continue to operate for a minimum of two more years” he said.
But Stevens pointed out that the new grabber arms that are to be installed on the old trucks will be compatible with the new trucks when they are delivered, so he expects that will result in some cost savings for the district down the road.
Stevens also told the committee that the costs of the two new trucks that will be delivered in 2024 has risen from $800,000 to $941,000, and asked that the additional costs be approved.
He said the district has been in regular conversations with the truck supplier and he’s confident at this time that the price of the new vehicles will not continue to rise.
“The sooner we can can finalize our bid process and secure the contract will ensure the price won’t continue to escalate,” he said.
The committee recommended that the cost of the repairs to the current trucks and the increased cost of the new ones be approved by the CVRD.