New trucks hinge on CNG filling station

NANAIMO – Fortis finalizing agreements for CNG facility in Nanaimo.

New automated CNG-powered garbage trucks hinge on Fortis B.C.’s new filling station.

Nanaimo city council agreed last week to purchase two CNG-powered automated garbage trucks, on the condition Fortis B.C. guarantees construction of a filling station by the end of the year.

Fortis B.C. has partnered with Mid-Island Co-op to build a CNG filling station at a new card lock facility at the corner of Boxwood and Northfield roads, but Fortis B.C. is still waiting to finalize agreements before it can provide guarantees the CNG component will go ahead, according to a city report.

The city isn’t prepared to put the order in to buy CNG trucks without that guarantee by the end of the year.

The station would be a good location – already on the route garbage trucks take back to the public works yard – and they have offered the city a better rate, says Bruce Labelle, the city’s fleet and service centre manager, who says the alternative filling station is at the Regional District of Nanaimo bus garbage on Applecross Road.

If successful, it will also be the city’s consumption that contributes to the success of building the station and allows others in the community to look at CNG as an option, he said.

The trucks themselves also carry benefits. They will would be less noisy than diesel trucks, have fewer fuel costs and mean the city no longer has to deal with maintenance costs and down time of diesel engine after-treatment systems, Labelle said. Each truck would also reduce emissions by 42 tonnes annually.

The cost is more than $55,000 over the city’s $800,000 budget, but Fortis B.C. has agreed to provide a $40,466 grant per truck. The purchasing order has to be made by the end of December, however, when the grant expires and that’s on hold until there’s confirmation the station will go ahead.

Labelle said if it doesn’t go ahead, another solution will have to be found because two new garbage trucks are needed.

Council voted against the alternative of buying automated diesel trucks.

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