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City to buy new snowblower, dump truck to maintain pathways, parks, sports fields

City council approved the two purchases and their funding sources during the March 27 regular meeting. 
City hall tower sunset
Moose Jaw City Hall. File photo

City hall plans to spend nearly $140,000 to purchase a new dump truck and snowblower attachment to ensure it can continue to maintain the community’s sports fields, pathways and parks.

The parks and recreation department will spend $108,117.30 to buy a new dump truck to replace the current unit, while it will spend $28,400 to purchase a snowblower attachment for an existing front-end loader. Therefore, the total cost will be $136,517.30. 

City council had approved the dump truck’s replacement for $95,000 during the 2023 budget discussions. However, when the department issued tenders, the lowest qualified bid was $108,117.30, which was $13,117.30 — or 14 per cent — over budget, a council report explained. The existing vehicle is 20 years old and its replacement can no longer be deferred. 

To cover this overage, the department plans to use $23,937.80 in surplus funds after the purchase of an ice resurfacer this year also came in under budget. 

Meanwhile, the money for the snowblower attachment will come from surplus funds after the purchase of a front-end loader this year came in under budget. 

The parks and rec department’s 12 major equipment purchases this year totalled $883,000, while the actual costs were $824,652.62, leaving a surplus of $58,347.38. The money to cover these new items or their overages — totalling $41,517.30 — will come from here.

City council approved these two purchases and their funding sources during the March 27 regular meeting. 

The department’s parks division primarily uses the dump truck to haul landscaping and sports field materials and fill, a council report said. The city purchased the vehicle in 2003, so it has reached the end of its life and replacement parts are difficult to find.

Parks and rec has spent an average of $4,300 a year during the past two years to repair and service the vehicle. 

Meanwhile, the department issued a tender for $145,000 in January for a new front-end loader, with the lowest bid coming in at $116,600, resulting in savings of $28,400. Staff then realized they could also purchase a compatible snowblower attachment with that money.

“The snowblower attachment will provide significant benefits to the parks’ operation, particularly after large snow events and in colder weather,” the report said. “Over the last (two) winters, we have experienced an increase in major snow events and proper equipment is required so that the impact on our service delivery is minimized.”

Parks and rec will use the snowblower to clear pathways, parking lots, and cemetery roads, and whenever a bucket on the loader or skid steer is unable to handle large volumes of snow, the report continued. 

The bucket clears most pathways — including in Crescent Park, where space to manoeuvre is limited — but those pathways eventually need to be widened as snow accumulates. Therefore, the snowblower will let the department do that more efficiently. 

The department’s current tractors used to clear pathways and outdoor rinks cannot run in colder temperatures or during high windchills since engines can freeze up, added the report. The new front-end loader can operate in colder temperatures, so it can clear snow clearing on frigid days.

When asked whether the snowblower attachment could be used elsewhere, such as downtown, parks and rec director Derek Blais said he would have to speak with the public works director since his department is not responsible for removing the white stuff from that area.

“Because that’s one of the complaints I get, is right downtown,” said Coun. Doug Blanc, who noted that in Moose Jaw recently, there was the world curling championship, a performance at the Mae Wilson theatre and a Warriors’ game, and he saw a video of snow piled high in parking stalls along Fairford Street.

“It does sound like an opportunity there (to use the snowblower attachment),” said Blais.

The next regular council meeting is Monday, April 10. 

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