Saanich has been awarded a $100,000 grant to help install 20 new electric vehicle (EV) chargers around the municipality.
In September 2019, the District of Saanich applied to the Natural Resources Canada (NRC) Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program to request $100,000 to assist with the installation of new EV chargers throughout the municipality, according to Mayor Fred Haynes.
On June 26, he was told Saanich had received the grant, with the rest of the required funds coming out of the municipality’s strategic initiative contingency fund – up to $280,000 has been allotted to complete the project.
The new chargers will be Level 2 EV chargers – “similar to the public EV chargers currently installed at our recreation centres and municipal hall,” said Rebecca Newlove, Saanich’s manager of sustainability.
She expects the 20 new chargers will be installed by spring 2021 at six municipal facilities. Two new chargers will be installed at Saanich Municipal Hall, Municipal Hall Annex, Cedar Hill Recreation Centre and the Cedar Hill Golf Course and four will go in at Saanich Commonwealth Place, Newlove said.
She added that for the first time, charging stations will also be installed at four Saanich parks: two each at Cadboro-Gyro Park and Mount Douglas Park and one at Hampton Park and Beckwith Park.
Saanich already has 12 Level 2 EV charging stations at various municipal facilities and they’re currently free to use, Newlove said. However, that could change. She explained that staff have been “exploring the potential for user fees for Saanich-owned public EV charging stations.”
She said increasing EV charging stations is one of the ways that Saanich hopes to achieve its climate targets – including reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent by 2030, reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 and transitioning to 100 per cent renewable energy.
Transportation, she explained, accounts for nearly 60 per cent of the District’s greenhouse gas emissions.
”With B.C.’s low-carbon electricity grid, [electric vehicles] are considered critical to achieving ambitious climate action goals,” Newlove said.
She added that climate modelling shows Saanich could reduce its emissions by about 20 per cent by 2050 by switching to electric vehicles.
“Local governments have an important role to play in ensuring there is adequate infrastructure to support EVs,” Newlove said.
Staff expect that the 20 new EV chargers will be installed within the budget of $380,000 but will “continue to look for cost savings where they can be achieved,” Newlove said.
Once the new chargers are installed, Saanich will be home to more than 30 EV chargers – putting the municipality in a “nation-leading category,” Haynes said.
Saanich has also applied for a separate grant of nearly $85,000 to assist with installation costs for 24 more new EV chargers at the Saanich Public Works Yard, the police department, Fire Station No. 1 and other municipal properties, Haynes said.