Council opens door to fire engine purchases

Nanaimo city council supported a request for proposals process Monday night that could lead to the city purchasing up to three fire engines by 2014.

Nanaimo is looking to buy up to three new fire engines by 2014.

City council supported a request for proposals process Monday night that could lead to the purchases.

The Type 1 engines, equipped to carry 500 gallons of water, pump and hoses, are considered standard municipal engines by nationwide standards. Each municipality, however, often has custom requests, such as hose line placement, that requires consultation with the manufacturer.

Nanaimo Fire Rescue chief Ron Lambert said over the years, Nanaimo has determined it prefers, for example, engines with smaller wheelbases to enable firefighters to drive into alleyways and smaller streets.

By putting out a request for proposals, instead of a tendering process, the city is not committing to actual purchase.

“[By approving the RFP] we’re supporting the pricing, but commitment to buy would not happen until we had budget approval,” said Al Kenning, city manager.

By staying with one manufacturer, Lambert estimates savings of up to $75,000 per vehicle by not having to repeat design and consultation meetings.

“Intent is to look at a long-term contract and the long-term contract would specify up to three engines in that five-year period,” said Lambert, adding that a new engine scheduled for 2011 is included in the financial plan and a replacement engine for 2013 is part of the fleet-replacement program.

A third engine in 2014, as well as the 2013 replacement, would be subject to budget approval through council.