The City of Nanaimo will be purchasing a new automated garbage truck for $430,000. CITY OF NANAIMO photo

City of Nanaimo needs a new garbage truck due to population growth

New automated truck comes with price tag of $430,000

A new garbage truck could be rolling on streets of the Harbour City next year.

Nanaimo councillors, during a finance and audit committee meeting on Wednesday, voted unanimously in support of a recommendation authorizing the city borrow $432,396 from the Municipal Finance Authority in order to purchase a new automated garbage truck.

The new garbage truck would be ordered later this year and is anticipated to enter service in January, according to a recent staff report, which states that the purchase works out to about $3.22 per household.

The $432,396 loan, provided to the city by the Municipal Finance Authority’s equipment financing program, will be repaid by the city over a five-year term and has an interest rate of 2.6 per cent. Staff estimate the city paying $29,513 in interest over the five years, bringing the total cost of the garbage truck to $461,865, according to the report.

The city’s automated garbage collection program was first announced by staff in 2017 for a cost of $7.5 million. However, following a multi-phased implementation of the program, the project ended up costing taxpayers $7.9 million.

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Laura Mercer, acting director of financial services, told the News Bulletin that council’s decision is merely a formality since the truck’s cost was already included in the 2019-2023 financial plan, which has been approved by councillors. She also said garbage rates in 2019 will be $170 per household.

The new truck was not part of the city’s $7.9-million Sort Toss Roll implementation, but is an additional expense, according to Mercer. She said the city has eight automated garbage trucks in their fleet at the moment and staff anticipated having to add more in order to keep up with the city’s increasing population.

“It’s a matter of growth,” she said.

The purchase of the new truck can happen after city councillors approve the committee’s recommendation during a council meeting. Mercer said that decision will likely occur at the next council meeting, which is scheduled for Feb. 25.

Staff are also planning on purchasing a used garbage truck later this year that would serve as a backup in case the main trucks need to be taken offline, according to Mercer. She also said staff are looking at recommending purchasing another new garbage truck in 2022.

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