Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Another Waste Of Your Tax Dollar!

If You Chose $170,000.00
You Know The Folk At City Hall

In spite of all the sound bites about wanting to save taxes at every opportunity and knowing how pressed many Nanaimo residents are financially these days, city hall staff keep coming up with more innovative ways to spend YOUR tax dollars, and the majority of city council just keeps right on spending.

The decision to spend $170,000 on an electric Zamboni rather than $80,000 on a propane model is the most recent example of how easily staff can spend your money, and how willing city council is to oblige their every whim.

During the discussion at the COW meeting on Aug. 27 PRC staff were seeking council approval to purchase an electric Zamboni for the low, low price of only $170,000.00. Follows are some of the comments from city councillors during discussion of this matter. Pay attention to whom you think might actually want to try and save you some tax dollars. It isn't all of them, for sure.

Councillor McKay raised the issue of cost comparison between the electric Zamboni and the propane version of the same machine. He noted that in Sarnia they bought the propane model for $79,000 and got a $12,000 trade in for their old one.

Councillor Anderson thought the expense of an electric model was warranted as it tied in with the city's decision to ban bottled water.

Councillor Johnstone couldn't understand why council was even being asked to approve the expense, thinking it was already in the budget for PRC. Apparently reviewing and looking for savings opportunities are not on her radar.

Councillor Bestwick who arguably should be the council 'expert' when it comes to Zambonis quizzed PRC staff as to the decision process and findings that led to this decision. Some of the answers were less than satisfactory as staff was unable to say what the life cycle was for the battery in the electric Zamboni. The cost per use of .25 for the electric as opposed $2.00 for the propane were unsupported comparisons.

One of Bestwick's main concerns was the idea that staff may be wanting to replace all 5 Zambonis with the $170,000 version over time.

The decision to spend $170,000.00 instead of $80,000.00 was passed by council with Councillors Bestwick, Kipp and McKay opposed and Councillors Brennan, Grieves, Johnstone, Pattje, Anderson and Mayor Ruttan in favour.



  1. Why buy a Toyota when you can buy a Lexus? Especially when it's not your money.

  2. someone has to be the gatekeeper for the environment, it sure is not the private sector. Good point re: .25 versus 2.00. If true, good decision in the long run. If equal, still a good environmental decision.

  3. If this was an environmental impact decision, what is the real impact of a propane fueled Zamboni running for a few hours, compared with the cost to produce the electricity to recharge the battery, the cost to the environment of the battery etc. etc.
    If the operating costs are really this great, you can bet the private sector would be all over electric vehicles. Don't trust these numbers.

  4. Nanaimo Pensioner30 August 2012 at 20:58

    Only city hall can afford to spend 2x for vehicles, because they aren't spending their own money.
    I can't even afford to keep one car on the road, this is an example of why my taxes keep going up. Maybe I could afford a car if they quit taking all my money for taxes.

  5. as above in 'trusting numbers', the cost of the zamboni is more of a production 'economies of scale' issue. Easy/cheaper to continue producing the same 'mass produced vehicles'. I believe the 'editor/moderator' of the blog is quite upset at oil prices and its private sector 'collusion'.... where does one start the critical analysis? the arguments are circular which makes these forums fun, I guess :)

  6. I doubt is is as simple as economies of scale, as the cost of the batteries in these units is very high, and that is based on the materials used in the battery, not the limited number being built.
    Only people spending others money, could justify spending twice as much for a vehicle that doesn't do anything different. The emissions from an efficient propane fueled engine are quite minimal.
    I would like to see some hard data supporting the difference in operating costs, and what all factors were used.
    If the electricity to recharge these batteries is coming from the electricity that will come from Harmac that is being provided by burning hog there really ANY environmental advantage? Hydro has to be produced somehow, and if you are burning coal for example, as they do in the US, going electric isn't as clean as the industry would like you to think.


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