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

B.C.’s public health restrictions on non-essential travel are reinforced by orders effective April 23, 2021 to stay within your own regional health authority except for essential travel such as work and medical appointmens. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 non-essential travel ban takes effect, $575 fines approved

Checks on highways, ferries between Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, Interior

Nic Hume and his fellow paramedic stopped to rescue the victim of an Oak Bay hit-and-run – a duck – at the end of their shift Thursday morning. (Nic Hume/Facebook)
Paramedics rescue unusual patient after Oak Bay hit-and-run

A female duck was rescued while a male one was deceased on scene

Tina Starkey with her seven-month-old puppy Sugar on the E&N Trail in Esquimalt. Starkey now carries a small personal alarm device, her thumb on the button. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
Encounters leave Vic West woman concerned for her safety

The 50-year-old wants self defence training, says she’s not alone

An early morning fire along Cameron Street has left two cats dead and two tenants homeless. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Early morning fire guts Victoria house, leaves 2 cats dead

Victoria Fire Department called out shortly before 2 a.m.

Starting in June, Government Street will be closed to most vehicles between Humboldt and View streets. A section of Government Street was transformed into a pedestrian-priority walkway in the wake of COVID-19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria plans 10-hour closures of Government Street come June

City’s business relief plan extended, Government St. from Humboldt to View closed noon to 10 p.m.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Have rising prices caused you to give up hope of buying a home?

Do you have a spare 50 grand or so kicking around (have… Continue reading

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 April 20

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

A plan flew over the Lower Mainland with a sign expressing some Canucks fans’ discontent with the team’s general manager. (Niqhil Velji - Twitter Screenshot)
#FireBenning movement gets off the ground in Metro Vancouver

Canucks fans raise enough money to fly banner over Metro Vancouver asking for team GM to be canned

The freed osprey keeps a wary eye on its rescuers after being deposited on its nest. (Photo credit: Greg Hiltz)
Hydro crew in Ashcroft gets osprey rescue call-out they won’t soon forget

Bird was tangled in baling wire hanging from a hydro pole, necessitating a tricky rescue

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth speaks to media at the Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday February 5, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to announce travel restrictions today to limit COVID-19 spread

Mike Farnworth is expected to give details of what the government views as essential travel

A downed power line has sparked a brush fire along Yellow Point Road south of Nanaimo. (Cole Schisler/Black Press)
Vancouver Islanders warned of fire risk caused by dry conditions

As dry spell poised to end, officials warn of risks involved with backyard burning

Richard Desautel with supporters outside the courthouse in Nelson, B.C., in 2016. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
UPDATED: Sinixt, First Nation bordering Canada-U.S., can claim Indigenous rights, top court rules

The decision essentially reverses a 1956 declaration the Sinixt were extinct

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

Most Read