In March 2019, Brian Lutz, told The Northern View that he has seen his fuel bills go from $100 a fill to $5 a fill since buying a used Tesla about three years ago. (The Northern View file photo)

Prince Rupert two charging stations closer to going green

Planned network of 47 Level 2 charging stations receives $192,000 from Northern Development

Converting to electric vehicles will soon be easier on Prince Rupert as two new electric vehicle (EV) charging stations are set to be installed around the islands.

Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT) announced a commitment of $192,000 towards the creation of an EV charging network, with 47 stations across central and northern B.C.

“The City was excited to hear of NDIT’s $192,000 contribution to the Charge North initiative, a collaboration between regional districts and municipalities,” said Mayor Lee Brain,

Brain, also a member of Electric Vehicle Highway 16-97 advisory council, requested that council make a resolution to participate in Charge North in March 2019.

Branded “Charge North”, the partnership involves 23 regional districts, municipalities and First Nations to address the issue of clean energy, while also hoping to support economic development and enhance tourism, stated NDIT.

READ MORE: Council Briefs: City joins electric charging program

Brain said the city is currently investigating locations that meet BC Hydro’s and the Community Energy Association’s – an independent organization that supports local governments in developing community energy and emissions plans –mandatory and desired criteria for installation.

For the North Coast Regional District (NCRD) as a whole, six stations will be installed, four of which are on Haida Gwaii in Sandspit, Tow Hill, Masset and Queen Charlotte.

While there is not a high demand for four stations on the islands yet, Daniel Fish, corporate officer for NCRD, said several growing trends are a sign there will soon be an increased need for EV stations.

“I think Haida Gwaii as a whole is looking to develop a more robust tourism economy and given the trend we are seeing, and climate adaptation and people picking up on more environmentally friendly transport solutions, we will see the need for those chargers as they grow,” he said.

The Strategic Initiatives Fund (SIF) grant from Northern Development will assist with the purchase of 47 Level 2 stations to be located from Kamloops to Haida Gwaii.

A Level 2 station is a two to four hour charge.

READ MORE: EV owner wants faster charging stations in the city

The Regional District of Fraser-Fort George (RDFFG) submitted the application and is working with other local governments and First Nations. The Community Energy Association is managing the overall project.

“The number of British Columbians switching to electric vehicles is growing exponentially. There are over 20,000 new EVs on BC’s roads, with more diverse models coming to the market. This project recognizes that growth and the potential it provides. There has been great enthusiasm from everyone involved and we really appreciate the support NDIT has provided,” said Janice Keyes, senior manager, Community Energy Engagement, Community Energy Association.

Each station will cost municipalities or their regional districts $5,000 to install.

“The City’s portion will be $10,000 in the 2020 budget to cover the costs of two charging stations,” Brain said.

Fish said the NCRD will be responsible for only two stations on Haida Gwaii, Tow Hill and Sandspit. NCRD applied for grant funding through Clean B.C. to cover 73 per cent of the financing and were conditionally awarded funding from NDIT to cover half of the remaining 27 per cent of the costs.

EV charging stations will also be placed in Stewart, communities along Highway 16 to Valemount, and down Highway 97 to Logan Lake.

“This isn’t a ‘one and done’ project. As the number of EVs increases, so does the need for charging stations and I look forward to committing more grant dollars in the future. Thank you to our partners and everyone who made this a reality – the North isn’t going to wait to go green,” said Joel McKay, CEO, Northern Development Initiative Trust.

READ MORE: Local shop makes electric charging station available in Prince Rupert

Jenna Cocullo | Journalist
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