An innovative alternative

A Tesla electric vehicle parked on 5th Avenue during the 2016 summer. / GOAT STAFF

by EVAN MATTHEWS

The Village of Valemount’s Economic Development Committee (EDC) is exploring the cost of installing an electric vehicle charging station on 4th Avenue, but the committee’s decision could go either way at this point.

The location of the proposed Electric Vehicle Charging Station is on the south side of 4th Avenue between the Cemetery and Centennial Park.

Though it may be perceived as an unusual spot for a charging station, the proposed location is the only place in town with enough power to support a charging station, as there is a there is a small building there with a 100 amp panel powered by the Village, according to Village Economic Development Officer Silvio Gislimberti.

The Village’s motivation to explore the idea came from an electric car club based out of Kamloops, Gislimberti says, as the club offered a free wall mount for the charging station.

Though it’s a small piece of a full electric charging station, Gislimberti says it’s a generous offer and has motivated the Village to begin exploring cost.

Currently, the Best Western Hotel in Valemount is the only charging station available to electric car owners near Valemount.

A charging station on 4th Avenue would mean an alternative for electric vehicle owners, bringing them from the main highway into Valemount’s downtown.

In April 2016, The CBC reported there are already 20,000 plug-in vehicles on Canadian roads and counting. They also reported the number of plug-in cars could jump to 500,000 on the road by 2020. Fleetcarma.com echoed the sentiment, saying sales of electric vehicles were up 15 per cent in 2015.

However, the idea is in its early stages, says Gislimberti and the Village of Valemount is currently seeking proposals from qualified contractors to build a supporting structure for the charging wall connector. The deadline for proposals is Feb. 7.

Once the cost of the electric vehicle charging wall connector has been established, the Village will “eventually apply for a Columbia Basin Trust Community Initiatives Program (CIP) Grant,” according to Silvio Gislimberti, the Village’s economic development officer.

The hope, according to Gislimberti, is for the Village to apply for CBT Grants by Feb. 20.

The Village expects to have a better idea of cost, timeline and overall feasibility for the charging station in about a month’s time, Gislimberti says.