The Pemberton Community Centre could be the site of electric vehicle-charging stations in the future if a grant application put forth by the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) is approved.
During Monday’s (May 28) board meeting, SLRD staff was directed to submit a Community Charging Infrastructure Fund application to install two charging stations at the Portage Road facility, following on a recommendation made by the Pemberton Valley Utilities and Services Committee (PVUS) earlier in May.
The Province announced the new $2.74-million fund, to be administered by the non-profit Fraser Basin Council (FBC), several weeks ago with the goal of establishing more than 550 public charging stations across B.C.
Area C director and PVUS member Susie Gimse said FBC officials specifically highlighted the region as a place they’d like to see charging stations during the Lower Mainland Local Government Association meetings in Whistler earlier in May.
“They indicated that they would like to see the Sea to Sky corridor implement charging stations throughout,” said Gimse. “I think it’s a great opportunity.”
Official details of how the fund will be implemented were revealed this week after press time, but an FBC spokesperson said money coming from the fund would cover 75 per cent of the cost of Level 2 charging stations, at a maximum of $4,000, while applicants would be required to pick up the remainder of the bill. The spokesperson noted that the cost to purchase and install Level 2 stations ranges from $2,000 to $8,000.
While electric-car use in the Pemberton Valley hasn’t exactly been noticeable, Mayor Jordan Sturdy described the evolution of the technology as a “chicken-and-egg” type of situation and said he expects it to only become more common.
“Our role is really to keep (the technology) in mind as developments come forward… as an option that needs to be assessed,” said Sturdy.
Sturdy cited plans for downtown enhancement as a future development where charging stations could have potential, as visitors waiting for cars to charge are then exposed to the town centre.
For the time being, Gimse said the community centre makes the most sense as the SLRD pursues the grant funding.
“We do have a fairly decent parkade below the community centre that could easily (accommodate) two charging stations,” she said. “It just seemed like the logical spot.”
Sturdy added that there will be “issues” to deal with if funding is secured and charging stations are installed in Pemberton, such as how users might pay to use the stations, for example.
“We’re not going to, generally speaking, be providing free power to everybody who has an electric vehicle,” said Sturdy. “At the same time, I think we need to make sure that if you do come to Pemberton with an electric vehicle, you do have an opportunity to go home.”
Through the fund, the Province has said it hopes to have the stations installed in municipalities, First Nations, businesses and elsewhere by the end of March 2013.
Last pieces of skatepark finished
Thanks to the work of some local volunteers over the past few weeks, most of the finishing touches have been put on the Pemberton Skatepark.
The majority of the landscaping work that needed to be completed around the facility was finished off with the help of Pemberton residents and the local Lions and Rotary club chapters in May. Sturdy said there’s not much left to add to the park next to the community centre.
“There’s a drinking fountain that has to go in at some point, but that’s about it,” said Sturdy, adding that, although the park opened last summer, he’s pleased to see the final pieces put in place. The mayor went on to commend the volunteer efforts.
“They did an awesome job,” he said.