A BC Hydro charging station in Prince Rupert. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

A BC Hydro charging station in Prince Rupert. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

EV infrastructure to expand in Sparwood

The district has supported a grant application by BC Hydro to add more charging stalls locally

Sparwood’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure could be expanding.

The district has signed a memorandum of understanding with BC Hydro that they are willing to give over additional parking spaces on city-owned property to EV charging stations, after a request from BC Hydro to support a grant funding application to Natural Resources Canada for expanded infrastructure in Sparwood.

“It certainly allows us to work with BC Hydro as they see a need to put more charging stations in Sparwood,” said Mayor David Wilks.

The location of new infrastructure is yet to be determined, but BC Hydro currently operate one charging stall in the parking lot to the south of the municipal hall.

“We’ll work with BC Hydro to determine the best location.”

Currently, besides the one BC Hydro stall, there is a second charging station at the Sparwood Chamber of Commerce off the highway, meaning there are only two public charging stations in the entire district. Elkford has one, while Fernie has at least 17 spread around town.

If BC Hydro is successful in securing grant funding for Sparwood, the new chargers would be installed and operated at no financial cost to the district, with the only cost being the loss of some parking stalls to electric vehicles only. The parking lot where the chargers would be installed has 40 parking stalls, not including the one stall currently reserved for electric vehicles, and three accessible parking stalls. There is also street parking nearby, and the lot is within metres of the Greenwood Mall parking lot.

Wilks that that giving over a few spaces for EV charging wasn’t a huge loss, given the availability of parking in the area.

“We certainly are not challenged with parking in Sparwood.”

Under the Zero Emission Vehicles Act of 2019, 10 percent of new vehicles sold in Canada are expected to be electric by 2025, rising to 30 percent by 2030, and 100 percent by 2040, significantly increasing the number of electric vehicles on Canadian roads, and requiring investment in EV charging infrastructure now to make it easier for buyers who switch now.

Councillors voted unanimously to support the agreement with BC Hydro. A timeline on when the new chargers would be installed isn’t yet known, as it will be determined by BC Hydro’s success in securing funding.

READ MORE: Fast charger does the rounds in East Kootenay

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