Council debates fuel efficiency of new Invermere pickup trucks

Invermere’s fleet to gain two new vehicles

The District of Invermere will soon have two new trucks in its fleet, but when the matter came up during Invermere’s most recent council meeting, questions arose as to just how fuel efficient those vehicles should be.

District public works manager Bruce Forsyth had put out a request for quotes for four different vehicles for Invermere’s public works department, and having completely that process, had recommended purchasing two Nissan Frontier four-by-four extended cab pickup trucks, a Kubota multi-purpose equipment vehicle, and a Bobcat multi-purpose equipment vehicle, at a total price of about $154,000. The recommendation came before council for approval during its Thursday, May 11th meeting.

Council members inquired whether the purchase were being made to replace old, worn-out equipment, and Invermere chief administrative officer Chris Prosser responded “no, we are finding we don’t have enough equipment with our summer students and our casual employees,” adding it has become necessary for district staff to car pool in the trucks to work sites, with a staff member then having to drive around town most of the day, shuttling workers to and from various locations as needed.

Councillor Paul Denchuk raised concerns over the type of pickup, pointing out that fuel efficiency is supposed to be a criterion for selecting district vehicles and saying “the (Nissan) Frontier is pretty much the worst in fuel efficiency.” He added that from what he understands the Chevrolet Colorado is the most fuel efficient mid sized pickup.

Prosser replied that Colorado did not offer a quote.

“But is that a reason not to pursue a more fuel efficient vehicle?” countered Denchuk.

During discussion Prosser mentioned that public works crew would like to use full sized pickups, but that Forsyth has instead recommended mid sized pickups.

“I think we should let the man (Forsyth) do his job. These are the trucks he’s recommended, I think we can trust they are the trucks best suited to the job,” said councillor Greg Anderson, hinting that the choice on what kinds of trucks to use should perhaps be an operational decision.

“This isn’t something the public should be deciding, I’m not even sure (we) council should be deciding,” said Anderson.

Invermere resident Karl Conway, in the audience, remarked that “it doesn’t matter what you have. It’s stop and start driving around a town. You’re going to have crappy fuel mileage.”

Ultimately council decided to move ahead and authorize the purchase of the Kubota and Bobcat, and then directed staff to give council more detailed information from the quotations on the pickups, with the intent of making a decision about pickup purchase in the near future.