By J.W. Schnarr
A radio tower in the Vauxhall area used for fire communications is in need of an estimated $16,000 in repairs.
During their regular meeting on Feb. 10, Municipal District of Taber council addressed the issue of the radio tower in Vauxhall, which is the primary communications tower for M.D. fire departments. An audit of radio equipment following the Regional Fire Authority’s December meeting showed the tower needed repairs and that those repairs could cost $16,000.
The RFA had previously passed a resolution to undertake the repairs in order to keep the equipment in optimal condition. However, since the equipment is shared between the RFA and fire departments from three hamlets, it was expected for the RFA and M.D. to discuss further funding arrangements.
Ultimately, the authority felt it was fair for the M.D. to pay 75 per cent of associated costs, while the RFA paid the remaining 25 per cent.
According to a memo from Bryce Surina, Director of GIS and IT, the recommended repairs to equipment include:
replacement of backup batteries, which was required immediately and has been completed;
replacement of the repeater controller for the tower, as the existing controller no longer supported an external fan being used for cooling. Estimated cost of the repair is $4,040 plus GST;
deficiency repairs to the tower include an estimated $7,965.70 as well as tower re-inspections every three years as part of maintenance, for an estimated $2,945 totalling $10,910 plus GST; and
two-way radio licensing, including working with Industry Canada to review licenses and to ensure that all operations are covered appropriately.
Radio licensing for the RFA currently costs $622 annually, with expected rates for 2015 totalling $1,300.
The 2014 site inspection included buildings, heaters, fans, radios, two-way licensing, cables, backup batteries, and a complete cleaning.
After discussion, M.D. council passed a motion to accept the cost share and to move ahead with repair work.