Sidney could start charging for the use of its four public EV charging stations after council tasked staff to develop a (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Sidney could start charging for the use of its four public EV charging stations after council tasked staff to develop a (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Sidney considers turning over public charging stations to private company

Councillor questions wisdom of charging for charging

Sidney could start tapping into the wallets of electric vehicle owners for using local charging stations and one councillor fears this move could short-cut the fight against climate change.

Tuesday night, council tasked staff to prepare a request for expressions of interest (REOI) from third parties concerning the future of Sidney’s local charging network for electric vehicles, a move that could conclude with EV owners paying to charge up.

(Sidney operates four Level 2 public charging stations at its town hall, Parking Lot F (Third and Bevan), Tulista Park and Iroquois Park. BC Hydro also operates a fast-charging Level 3 station at Bevan and Seventh. Sidney does not have records for EV stations on private property.)

“Moving forward, if we are looking at a REOI, my suggestion would be that council should at least be comfortable with the idea of possibly charging some amount for the use of an EV charging station,” said Randy Humble, Sidney’s chief administrative officer during Tuesday’s regular council meeting.

Coun. Terri O’Keeffe had earlier expressed reservations about this very possibility. How will charging for the use of EV stations impact Sidney’s climate change goals, she asked in sketching out a possibility whereby owners of EVs could end up paying what amounts to a parking fee to charge their vehicles, while owners of gasoline vehicles would pay nothing. Sidney, she said later, should first settle the question of whether it wants to start charging EV owners in calling for more research.

RELATED: Sidney says it has not received any complaints about vehicles hogging EV charging stations

RELATED: Sidney could pump up electric vehicle charging across community

RELATED: Sidney records the second-highest rate of electric vehicle ownership on Vancouver Island

The question came up as council considered a staff report that recommended the town hire Sun Country Highway, an EV charging station manufacturer to operate and maintain the four public charging stations available in Sidney. Public use of the stations is ‘free’ with the municipality having paid about $9,000 since 2013.

Jenn Clary, director of engineering, said in a report that maintenance of the stations has challenged staff. She also said that the current practice of subsidizing users “may no longer be needed or supportable” with the EV market in Sidney now “well established.”

Sidney, in other words, appears interested in dropping what has been an incentive to encourage EV purchases and turning over its infrastructure to a private company.

While councillors did not follow staff’s recommendation to hire the company – for a number of reasons – they appeared open to hiring a private party to manage and ultimately profit off the infrastructure.

Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith said Sidney finds itself in a “dynamic situation” concerning its charging infrastructure. “We have residents charging at the their residences, we have local governments providing services like we are doing with four meters, we have BC Hydro, and now we have networks, who are providing service to municipalities.”

McNeil-Smith said Sidney will have to ask itself how it fits into this environment as EVs become more popular and whether it is still appropriate for residents to subsidize owners of EVs through free charging stations. He also predicted that BC Hydro will eventually start charging for use of its charging station in town.

Coun. Peter Wainwright said that most users of Sidney’s charging stations are commuters, and most EV owners actually charge their vehicles at home. While some local residents use the local stations to charge up their vehicles overnight, they often appear to be high-end vehicles. “If you can afford a vehicle, you can probably afford a charger,” he said.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Goldstream Food Bank vice-president Walter Dubeau is happy to help others by volunteering at the food bank’s Christmas hamper program. (Rick Stiebel/News Staff)
Goldstream Food Bank Christmas Hamper program in full swing

Gratitude evident as hamper helpers happily give back

The Vancouver Island Crisis Society has seen a five per cent rise in call volumes compared to this time last year. (Black Press Media file photo)
Winter blues a concern for Vancouver Islanders during COVID-19 Christmas season

Statistics show British Columbians anticipate worsening mental health

Jason Soukochoff is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, say Victoria police. (Courtesy VicPD)
Victoria police seek man with violent criminal history against elderly

Jason Soukochoff wanted on Canada-wide warrant for parole violations

Bystanders attend to a cyclist who is knocked to the pavement of Oak Bay Avenue. Witnesses say the cyclist was knocked off their bike in a dooring incident on Oak Bay Avenue at Fell Street at around 12:40 p.m. on Wednesday. 
(Daniel Opden Dries Photo)
UPDATED: VicPD tickets driver for ‘dooring’ cyclist on Oak Bay Avenue

Incident occurred at Oak Bay Avenue and Fell Street

West Shore RCMP pulled over a 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee on Nov. 23 after noting that it didn’t appear safe for the road. (West Shore RCMP)
West Shore RCMP pull over vehicle held together by tape and cargo strap

RCMP deemed the vehicle unsafe for the road and had it towed away

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 24

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(AP Photo/Haven Daley)
POLL: Do you think the current COVID-19 restrictions should continue beyond Dec. 7?

One week into the new restrictions to curtail the spread of the… Continue reading

(File photo)
Alberta woman charged after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at Okanagan campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. woman loses appeal to have second child by using late husband’s sperm

Assisted Human Reproduction Act prohibits the removal of human reproductive material from a donor without consent

An excavator was stolen from a rural property south of Nanaimo this month, say police. (Photos submitted)
Excavator stolen from property south of Nanaimo

Bobcat Mini believed to have been stolen between Nov. 12-14, say RCMP

Krista Macinnis displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
B.C. mom angry that students asked to list positive stories about residential schools

Daughter’s Grade 6 class asked to write down 5 positive stories or facts

B.C. projects targeting the restoration of sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser and Columbia Watersheds will share in $10.9 million of federal funding to protect species at risk. (Kenny Regan photo)
13 projects protecting B.C. aquatic species at risk receive $11 million in federal funding

Salmon and marine mammals expected to benefit from ecosystem-based approach

Most Read