Town of Lake Cowichan budget talks reach the fire hall

The Lake Cowichan Fire Department’s proposed budget for 2011 was poured over by the town’s elected officials, last week, with fire chief Doug Knott explaining the items he and his department would like to see purchased this year.

  • Mar. 7, 2011 5:00 p.m.

The Lake Cowichan Fire Department’s proposed budget for 2011 was poured over by the town’s elected officials, last week, with fire chief Doug Knott explaining the items he and his department would like to see purchased this year.

The Lake Cowichan Fire Department’s items are funded 2/3 by the Town of Lake Cowichan, with the remaining 1/3 coming from both CVRD Electoral areas F and I.

At the top of the list is a $250,000 new tanker truck, which will not deal taxpayers a heavy blow, as the department is utilizing their reserve funds to make the purchase.

Another amount allotted is $12,000 for self-contained breathing apparatus equipment.

“We’re in need right now,” Knott said. With everyone who shows up for house fire calls requiring the equipment, with each one costing $6,000, this is a necessary amount, Knott said.

This year, Fire Underwriters, a risk management company, will be doing an audit of the area, providing information about the department and the zone they cover, to an insurance company.

It’s important this is done, as such an audit hasn’t been done since 1982, Knott said.

A thermal image camera is not a necessary item, Knott said, but would be quite useful.

The $10,000 item has gone down in price quite a bit since they first came on the market, he said.

“You’ll hold it up to a building and it’ll show you any hot spot,” he said. “Most places have them now.”

At this point in time, the fire department is guessing, and potentially doing some unnecessary damage in their attempt to locate the hot spots.

A new forestry tank and pump has also been requested, to outfit one or their trucks for rougher roads, at a cost of $8,000.

Additional items include minor roof repairs, a $60,000 transfer to the equipment reserve (up from last year’s $50,000), an oxygen level tester, LED lights, turn out gear, and a few other smaller things.

One item in the future should be some equipment for water calls, Knott said.

“Unfortunately, with the river and the lake, there are two different needs,” he said.

This item has not been budgeted for, this year.

Following Knott’s presentation, the town’s elected officials briefly discussed the items presented.

“I’m still not in cutting mode, because I haven’t seen the whole budget yet,” councillor Bob Day said.

The town’s budget discussions are ongoing, and no concrete decisions have been made thus far.

Discussions will continue Tuesday, March 8, at 5 p.m.

At this time, the Public Relations and Sustainable Planning and Development Committee meetings have been cancelled, in order to free up some time for town’s budgetary discussions.

Spray park

In hopes of retaining the $12,500 Success By 6 grant they received last year for a water/spray park, the town’s elected officials are now considering their options.

Building a small structure this year, mayor Ross Forrest encouraged, could ensure the town gets to keep the grant and not have to raise taxes.

“I think the recent announcement of the highway may be enough to hold back on this,” councillor Bob Day said, citing the recent announcement that the Town of Lake Cowichan’s stretch of South Shore Road, from the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena to Highway 18, will likely get paved next year.

Rather than simply keeping things the way they are, mayor and council would like to see things look nicer, upon repaving.

The town would have to fund any additional work to South Shore Road, such as sidewalks and trees.

Recycling

With Canada Post sitting firm on its national policy to remove recycling receptacles from its post offices, mayor and council decided to give up in reasoning with them and move the garbage can located outside the town’s post office.

The decision came in response to the amount of recyclable materials being thrown into the garbage can in recent months, following the removal of the recycling receptacle in the post office building.

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