TEMAGAMI – That drive north may be a little less anxious for electric car owners as Temagami is looking into providing a charging station for travellers.
Temagami council says it will have to do more research when it comes to potentially bringing electric vehicle charging stations to the municipality.
At its last regular meeting on August 6, council received an email from resident George Bull expressing his interest in electronic vehicle charging stations and requested that council consider taking on the initiative and to seek out funding opportunities to do so.
In his email, Bull states that he has noticed “an increasing number of electric vehicles driving through town” and that he planned on buying one himself next year.
During his research, Bull says that he has “noticed an absence in northern public charging infrastructure.”
“When looking at Plug Share, a map of public EV chargers in North America, both New Liskeard and North Bay are investing heavily in electric vehicle charging, with almost 20 new stations opening by 2021 in our closest municipalities,” Bull said in his email.
“The closest public charger to Temagami is in Marten River at the Rock Pine Motel.”
Bull also stated that electric vehicles “can easily travel up to 600 kilometres on a single charge” and that he feels having charging stations in Temagami will promote travellers to stop in town and spend some time shopping and exploring.
“When the municipality installs fast EV chargers, they will have complete access to determine and set their own minute or hourly charging prices as a source of revenue,” he reasoned.
Bull also feels that installing fast EV charging infrastructure in the community will have several benefits, aside from helping to meet municipal and federal sustainability goals.
“EV drivers stop on average for 15-60 minutes to charge. During this time 92 per cent of EV drivers spend money at nearby shops and restaurants, promoting both tourism and the local economy,” he said.
“Adopting EV charging infrastructure early will help to future-proof the community and allow current EV owners to drive further distances and see the community as forward-thinking, EV friendly destination.”
Councillor Barret Leudke expressed his desire for council to do research before making any resolutions on electric vehicle charging stations.
“I’d just like the municipality to tread lightly on this one,” he said at the Aug. 6 meeting.
“There are other entities in the process of putting car charging stations across the North. I don’t know what the arrangements are with other partnering municipalities or private investors, but in light of how our microFIT solar system endeavour has turned out, and I think by the next council meeting you’ll have a better picture of where that’s taking us, I would like to have a good comprehensive review and research in our team and the administration office before we wade deep into this.”
That isn’t to say that the municipality couldn’t use car charging stations, says Leudke, and he doesn’t disagree with Bull’s letter as “there’s a move by all of the auto industry and all of the automakers to have more hybrid or electric cars.”
“However, we shouldn’t not consider the private entrepreneur or private sector to help put this in place rather than the municipality,” said Councillor Leudke.
“There is some concrete, significant infrastructure cost to put a car charging station in and that needs to be understood clearly. This isn’t just a little post with an electric extension cord waiting at the Train Station for somebody to plug into, There is some significant hydroelectric infrastructure needed. For yourself, if you were to go to southern Ontario to places like Bass Pro Shop or some of those bigger shopping centres where they have the facilities for a Tesla car to plug into, take a look around, you’ll see some of the electricity and transformers and stuff needed to make this work properly. So, again, eyes wide open before we pursue this, do our research, and make sure we step properly.”
Treasurer-administrator Craig Davidson said the reason why the municipality wasn’t bringing a recommendation right now was because of a lot of concerns that Councillor Leudke had brought up.
“There are some businesses within our municipality that might be tied to another organization that’s actually putting (the infrastructure) in across the country, or what have you,” Davidson said.
“So if it’s something that’s already in place, the municipality doesn’t have to run out to be first. We wanted to be sure that we could have a more wholesome report that covered all of that as well.”
Council agreed to have municipal staff conduct more research on the proposed electric vehicle charging station initiative and provide a recommendation at a subsequent meeting.
Jamie Mountain is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter with the Temiskaming Speaker. LJI reporters are funded by the Government of Canada.