By Chad Ingram
Minden Hills council is supporting a recommendation from the County of Haliburton that would see the township install electric vehicle charging stations at its administration office and the arena.
As part of its climate change mitigation plan, the County of Haliburton has applied to funding programs to help purchase charging stations for the county and its four, lower-tier municipalities.
As for the funding framework, a report from county climate change co-ordinator Korey McKay contained two options. One option entails using The Ivy Network, jointly owned by Hydro One and Ontario Power Generation. Under that option there would be no upfront costs for municipalities, but an average annual servicing fee of $3,300 for each two-portal station. The report indicated service would range between $2,400 and $4,000, depending on the location of the charging stations.
The cost of electricity would come in addition to this, at approximately $1 to $2.50 per hour. This cost is typically recouped from the public via user fees. Installation would take place in summer or fall of this year.
A second option would entail the municipalities themselves owning the charging stations. Dual-port Level 2 charging stations cost between $15,000 and $25,000, with up to $10,000 of this expenditure recoverable through the funding program. Ongoing service costs would be between $500 and $1,800 per unit per year, with the cost of electricity covered through user fees. Installation would take place between September of 2021 and September of 2023.
During an April 8 online meeting, Minden Hills councillors agreed to look into both options, and a staff report regarding funding will come back to the council. Money for charging stations was not included in the 2021 budget, but Mayor Brent Devolin pointed out there are grant opportunities the township could explore.
“Electric vehicles are coming to us,” Devolin said. “… I think we probably need to consider going ahead with both initiatives, because I think that in less than five years, even both of these initiatives, if they’re done in parallel, will not be enough for what will happen.”
“I think we need to go ahead with this,” said Councillor Pam Sayne. “Unfortunately it’s not in the budget, but it’s an investment [where] we are going to get our money back.” Sayne said that over time, with the proliferation of electric vehicles, the stations should actually become drivers of revenue for the municipality.
“I’m not in favour of the municipality getting into the electric car business, but I think we should support both of these proposals, so we can see in the short term, how all of this develops,” said Councillor Bob Carter. “I know it’s not been added to the budget, but I think it’s an expense we need to take, and we can figure out the budget as we go along.”