It is a piece of equipment the town of Huntsville counts on each spring.

The street sweeper is the one vehicle in the fleet that gets Huntsville’s hundreds of kilometres of roads sand and debris free after the long, cold winters. Stephen Hernen is Director of Operations & Protective Services/Fire Chief for the town and he says the street sweeper gets heavy use.

“Once the winter is over it is going pretty steady,” he says. “There is always a road to be cleaned somewhere or a spill to be looked after.”

Through normal use, a street sweeping unit is expected to last eight years. Huntsville’s current unit is 12 years old.

Now the town is going to tender to get a new one and it will be a big purchase.

Currently budgeted at around $215,000 the Operations department requested another $71,000 in anticipation the new unit won’t be delivered in time for the 2019 operations requirements. That means having to hire outside contractors for the spring clean-up season.

“The American dollar always results in a fluctuation on large pieces of equipment whether it is a fire truck or a street-sweeper,” he says.

A report said the recommendation would be to not attempt any repair on the current unit as it would be a waste of money at this point.

“The machine is picking up sand and creating dust as it goes, so lots of greasing, lots of issues with bearings,” explains Hernen.

The town is looking to make a purchase with other municipalities to bring the cost down, and will also trade in the existing equipment to receive credit towards the new unit.