Out with the oil, in with the propane

By Mark Squibb
September 15, 2023

Bay Roberts council has decided that money initially budgeted to install mini-splits at the fire hall will instead be used to purchase a new propane furnace.

Council had set aside $18,000 in Budget 2023 to install mini-splits at both the fire hall and visitor pavilion. Some $8,000 of that total was earmarked specifically for the fire hall.

Quotes, however, came back at almost $6,900 per unit, and so council put the idea on the backburner last February.

The issue came back to council chambers this week as regulated life dependency of the oil tank at the fire hall was set to expire this month.

Purchase of a new oil tank with a 25-year certification would amount to $2,990 HST included.

Mayor Walter Yetman noted that Spirit of Propane had offered the Town 1,000 litres of free propane, a value of over $1,100, should it switch to propane, plus an additional tank to support a propane furnace at no extra charge.

Yetman explained the fire department already has a rental agreement with Spirit of Propane in place as the kitchen range in the fire hall runs on propane.

The Town went to tender on the cost of swapping the station from oil to propane, and will pay $6,100, HST included, for a new furnace and installation.

Deputy Mayor Geoff Seymour asked, for the sake of clarity, if the Town would, for sure, purchase the propane furnace in lieu of the mini-splits, which chief administrative officer Nigel Black confirmed.

Seymour asked if anyone knew off hand the cost difference per litre between oil and propane. Councillor Dean Franey, following a quick Google search, noted that furnace oil is $1.40 per litre while propane is $1.06 per litre. Mayor Yetman added that fuel prices are subject to change over time.

As to the mini-splits, Mayor Yetman said that, from experience, he did not feel they would have been a good fit for the garage bay of the fire department to begin with.

“Once you open that door, all that work the mini split is doing to heat that area will be gone in a second,” said Yetman.

Councillor Perry Bowering asked whether the fire department executive was aware that council was ready to make a decision, to which councillor Dean Franey, himself a volunteer firefighter, noted it is a Town owned building and therefore the responsibility of the Town.

The motion to switch was approved unanimously.

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