A electric vehicle charging at the University of Victoria. (Photo Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions)

Parksville council votes against applying for electric vehicle charging station grant

‘Nice to have, but it’s not necessary to have’

Parksville will not be getting a fast electric vehicle charging station anytime soon.

Blaine Russell, director of community planning and building, brought forward a federal grant opportunity for the city for a fast EV charger. The grant would cover up to 50 per cent of the cost, but there would also be an opportunity for provincial funding for up to 25 per cent, up to $25,000. However, the grant doesn’t cover ongoing operation or land costs. The deadline for the grant is coming up – July 22, which some councilors found too quick of a turnaround.

“I have a real concern about us getting into this,” said Mayor Ed Mayne. “Where does it stop? Who pays for this? We have no idea what the ongoing operational expenses are here. I agree with what everyone is saying. I think electrical vehicles are a thing of the future, it’s going to happen, I don’t see it being the responsibility of the municipality.”

Initially, there wasn’t a motion on the table regarding the charger, but Coun. Al Grier put one forward saying the city wouldn’t apply for the grant.

Councillors Marilyn Wilson and Doug O’Brien opposed the motion, with the remainder of council voting in favour.

“Maybe later on we can take a look at it, when electric cars become more popular, but I feel that it’s premature and I don’t like the idea of spending that kind of money for everyone’s electric car,” said Grier.

READ MORE: RDN to add 10 electric vehicle charging stations

Other members of council voiced similar concerns, with Mayne saying that he didn’t think this was in council’s jurisdiction. He also brought up the idea of the city providing the electricity for free, something he said he has a problem with.

“I just say, you know what, nice to have, but it’s not necessary to have,” said Mayne. “I say let’s pass on this one, that’s my view.”

Wilson said she didn’t see the harm in council applying, nor did O’Brien, who said it be a possible economic driver for the city. He went on to say that he disagreed about it not being the responsibility of the city.

“The city of Parksville has actually signed on, in an attempt to reduce our carbon emissions we have goals in place that we’re trying to achieve on an annual basis, signed on by the city to reduce greenhouse gases, so I actually believe it is a municipal decision,” he said. “I think it’s incumbent on us to follow through with that and encourage the use of these charging stations in our municipal area.”

cloe.logan@pqbnews.com

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