Five new electric vehicle charging stations has put Sidney at the forefront of the green movement among communities its size — and among municipalities on Vancouver Island.
On Thursday, May 16, the town officially unveiled the new charging stations, alongside Rob McGregor of Sun Country Highway, the company that provided the units.
“Welcome to the future,” said Mayor Larry Cross. “This is the first of many to come. We’ll be meeting the needs of many electric vehicles.”
Cross said the town’s director of development sevices, Marlaina Elliott, led the charge to get the stations in place. She is also helping the town achieve its goal of becoming carbon-neutral.
“We are looking to reduce that carbon footprint more and more,” Cross said, noting that’s part of their strategic plan.
Sidney, he continued, is now the leading community of its size with charging stations and he hopes it stays that way.
McGregor added he is speaking with the staff at the Mary Winspear Centre and will be looking into donating another four to six charging stations to them in the future.
“The Island is the most EV-friendly region in the world right now,” he said. “You can drive anywhere on this Island wth an electric vehicle and know that you’ll find a charging station.”
Sidney’s new stations are a boon for the community, McGregor said. Drivers coming off of the ferries on the Peninsula can pull into town and recharge, before heading further on.
Elliott said the stations are part of a growing electric vehicle infrastructure that will help make owning them a lot easier.
The town itself recently purchased a Nissan Leaf all-electric car.
Chief Administrative Officer Randy Humble said it’s used by the planning and engineering departments for site inspections and by other staff who need to travel to meetings around town and into the capital region.
Cross said that the town will look to replace its fleet with electric vehicles as existing vehicles reach their retirement age.
The charging stations are free. Elliott said while the town will be footing the electric bill, it costs less than instaling card readers or other forms of payment. She added she expects they will get a lot of use, as more and more people are buying electric vehicles and will need places to fuel up.
The five charging stations cost the town around $31,000 in total. Cross said provincial grants helped cover the expense. Elliott said a Community Charging Infrastructure Fund grant from the province covered 75 per cent of the cost. The Town’s portion was mostly in labour costs, which was provided by the Town’s own electrician.
*Corrected information in the last paragraph in regards to the cost of the project*