“We’re not in the rental business. . .” – Zabolotniuk

Richard Froese
South Peace News

A newly-elected councillor for Big Lakes County suggests the municipality get out of the business of renting equipment.
North Gilwood – Triangle Councillor Jim Zabolotniuk presented the idea to council at its regular meeting Nov. 10.
“We’re not in the rental business when other businesses are available in the county,” said Zabolotniuk, a grain farmer.
“We shouldn’t be in the rental business at all.”
He recognizes the Agricultural Service Board [ASB] has a mandate to support producers, but suggests Big Lakes opt out of renting equipment.
However, another farmer on councillor says it might not be such a good idea.
“Some rental companies in the region sometimes don’t have equipment available when it’s needed,” said High Prairie East – Banana Belt Councillor Tyler Airth.
Council referred the issue to the next ASB board meeting on a suggestion by South Sunset House – Gilwood Councillor Ann Stewart.
“It should go to the ASB and get their recommendation,” she said.
Council approved a motion by Zabolotiniuk to refer the issue to the ASB meeting, which is Dec. 3.
Zabolotniuk made the suggestion as council reviewed proposed rental fees presented by Brett Hawken, director of community and protective services.
Grouard Councillor Jeff Chalifoux supported the review.
“I want to explore some of Jim’s suggestions,” Chalifoux said.
“What are the pros and cons, the benefits of renting equipment?
“We should talk to farmers.”
CAO Jordan Panasiuk says the cost of operations to rent equipment breaks even.
Zabolotniuk was concerned about the high costs to buy and replace some of the equipment as presented by Hawken.
There were two concerns brought up about selling the land rollers and post pounder equipment and why the agricultural advisory committee kept them as part of the replacement schedule, Hawken writes in his report.
County equipment is in better shape and runs better than local vendor equipment, council heard.
Travel distance is farther for producers in the Kinuso-Faust area.
“Again, these are items that can be rented locally from other vendors,” Hawken said.
“With the concern that County equipment is in better shape, the hope is if the County stops renting these pieces, those vendors will be able to absorb that revenue to put back into their equipment to improve their fleets.
“The travel concern is a legitimate point, but council needs to consider is that extra travel worth an extra $124,525 over the next seven years?”

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