Town has plans for fire equipment proceeds

Andrew Robinson
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Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove disbanded volunteer department last fall

Even before equipment once used by the now-disbanded volunteer fire department in Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove was formally put on the market, Mayor John Kennedy was aware of many communities curious about what would be available for sale.

This pumper truck belonging to the Town of Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove is being sold by the town after the town reached an agreement with the St. John’s Regional Fire Department to provide fire services to the town.

“We had numerous enquiries from different towns that were looking for mainly the pumper tanker that we’ve got there,” said Kennedy. “It’s 15 years old, roughly, but it’s in excellent shape.”

With an inventory taken and items tested and priced, the town expects to have an additional $100,000 or more if the 10 lots of items available in a tender attract bidders. The town already has some ideas for how that money will be spent.

“Everything that we plan to do with it is based ... on responding to an emergency situation or trying to prevent one from happening,” said Kennedy.

“We’ve got to purchase backup generators. ... We’ve got an emergency plan that we’ve got put in place. There’s more equipment that has to be bought for that. We’ve got a fairly ambitious public works agenda.”

A 2011 flood-risk analysis for the town identified more than 30 undersized or deteriorating culverts and bridges in need of replacing. Kennedy said the town has enacted a five-year plan to begin replacing those culverts and bridges. He expects revenue generated by the sale of fire department equipment will help that cause.

Last fall, council voted to shut down its volunteer fire department and pay an annual fee to the St. John’s Regional Fire Department (SJRFD). That decision was made following the completion of a report on fire protection services in the community that found the volunteer fire department’s services to be inadequate.

The 1998 Ford pumper truck is the most expensive item for sale. The truck is valued at $60,000, and extra equipment included in that lot of the tender brings the minimum bid price up to $72,605.

There’s also a 1974 water tanker for sale valued at $1,500, breathing apparatus, portable pumps and extinguishers, and other equipment.

Not all of the former fire department’s assets are being sold. The town will keep a pickup truck for municipal use, and equipment that can aid the emergency plan, including radios and flashlights.

As for the firehall, Kennedy said the town plans to use that building as a municipal depot once all items available in the tender are sold and moved.

“In our strategic plan ... one of the things that we had identified was the fact that we needed a depot for the storage of equipment that we’ve got, plus vehicles. If the fire hall hadn’t closed, it’s something that we would have had to build.”

The town has used a building located at Kelly Park in Outer Cove to store equipment, but Kennedy said it does not provide enough space for the town’s operations.

As for the firefighting arrangement in place with SJRFD, Kennedy said that has worked out very well thus far.

“We’ve had calls and they’ve responded well within their timeframe. There hasn’t been any issues.”

The town will pay $129,000 in 2014 and $133,000 in 2015 for the fire department’s services. Those figures are calculated based on the number of homes in the community and their assessed value. Kent's Pond Fire Station is the primary responder for the town.

Previously, the annual cost of the volunteer department fluctuated between $70,000 and $90,000, while SJRFD’s services were retained on standby at a cost of $20,000.

“As it was, even when we had the volunteers, St. John’s was responding in the daytime,” said the mayor. “The volunteers were doing it in the night.”

The volunteer fire department was having trouble attracting enough firefighters in recent years, and the large capital investment necessary to keep the local department operating was deemed to be too much for the town.

Items available for sale can be viewed Saturday at 725 Logy Bay Rd., Logy Bay, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The tender closes March 13 at 4 p.m.

Twitter: @TeleAndrew

Organizations: SJRFD, Regional Fire Department, Pond Fire Station

Geographic location: Logy Bay, Kelly Park

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