Two electric vehicle-charging stations will be installed near the Pemberton Community Centre in early 2013, following news that the village was awarded one of 145 new stations across B.C. based on a successful provincial funding application.
The stations will be free to use and placed in the outdoor parking lot across from the community centre within the next few months, opening up the Spud Valley to long-distance travellers needing a place to charge their vehicles.
Money from the Community Charging Initiative (CCI) Fund will pay for 75 per cent of the cost of purchasing and installing the two stations, or a maximum of $4,000 for each, while the Village of Pemberton will pick up the rest of the bill.
Mayor Jordan Sturdy said that while there hasn’t been a noticeable amount of electric vehicles in Pemberton just yet, the benefits of installing the charging stations are likely to reveal themselves in the long term.
“How many electric vehicles do we have in Pemberton? Not very many, I understand,” said Sturdy. “But, we also want to be part of a system that allows people with electric vehicles to come here in the same way that we worked hard to ensure that there is aviation gas at the Pemberton airport. You can get here, but you need to be able to recharge and get home.
“It’s about creating opportunity, but it’s also about putting out a bit of a message,” he continued. “If there’s an outdoor charging station visible to the public, it keeps it in your mind that ‘This is an option.’ So the message is as important as the opportunity.”
Sturdy said the community centre was selected as the location due in part to the high level of visibility the stations will have along Portage Road.
Village officials were unsure as of Tuesday (Dec. 11) when the stations would be ready for use, but they must be installed before March 31 to meet the CCI Fund deadline.
“I know many people in the corridor care deeply about environmental protection,” said Sea to Sky MLA Joan McIntyre in a release. “Yet, the environmentally-friendly option is not always the easiest option. These new charging stations will make it a little more convenient for local residents who wish to drive an electric vehicle.”
The CCI Fund, managed and administered by the Fraser Basin Council, was announced back in the spring, and the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District developed an application based on a recommendation made by the Pemberton Valley Utilities and Services Committee (PVUS).
However, due to the already-strained Pemberton-Area C recreation budget managed by PVUS, the stations were not considered a priority. Sturdy said he learned this fall at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention that the CCI Fund application deadline had been extended, and obtained council support to submit an application on behalf of the village.
Three other Sea to Sky stations were awarded in Friday’s (Dec. 7) announcement of the 145 identified in the latest round of funding — one to the West Coast Railway Association in Squamish and two at the Lions Bay General Store and Café. According to a release, the five stations announced Friday brings the total number awarded to the Sea to Sky to 15 since September.