SOUTH RIVER ‑ Highlander Brew Co. president Dwayne Wanner is optimistic new electric vehicle charging stations at his brewery will draw more people off Highway 11 and into this village.
“Starting from Huntsville upward, the new highway was built outside of the villages and most of the villages died as a result of it,” Wanner says. “The fact that the highway is about one kilometre away from the village certainly doesn’t help.”
But Wanner believes the Ivy Charging Network stations, owned by Hydro One and Ontario Power Generation, will provide a much-appreciated boost to his brewery, as well as to local stores and artisans whom travellers will visit while their cars are charging.
Wanner says the Highlander location had a long history as a stop for travellers. It previously served as home to the Happy Landing Service Station, popular when Highway 11 ran through South River.
“It had quite a reputation as a refueling station,” he says.
Wanner believes it’s important to have a big sign for not only the electric-car charging station, but also for Happy Landing. In addition, he's been brewing a special Happy Landing ale for a number of years.
“It’s our village,” he says. “It’s something important. I think it’s a part of the heritage of the village. Everyone knew the Happy Landing Service Station… we kept trying to think of how we could commemorate that because it was a landmark.”
Les Mack, one of the original Happy Landing owners, and his partner’s wife and son, Doreen and Bart Wood, cut the ribbon on Canada Day for the Ivy charging stations. South River resident Neil Hodder was first to charge his car.
“I was trying to be funny suggesting that in a village of 1,000 people, there aren't going to be any electric cars,” Wanner admits “However, there are three. We were quite surprised at that.”
Ivy's goal is to have 160 chargers installed by the end of the year at 73 locations roughly 100 kilometres apart.
The IV chargers can fully charge most cars as fast as 30 minutes, with some vehicles, such as Teslas, requiring an adaptor.
- Mackenzie Casalino, Local Journalism Initiative, North Bay Nugget