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Electric avenues in North Van

Enviro-friendly roadside memorial - Café for Contemporary Art owner Tyler Russell would like to have an EV station installed in front of his business where a young tree was knocked over in a car crash this summer.   - Todd Coyne
Enviro-friendly roadside memorial - Café for Contemporary Art owner Tyler Russell would like to have an EV station installed in front of his business where a young tree was knocked over in a car crash this summer.
— image credit: Todd Coyne

The City of North Vancouver is the latest municipality to join the charge on electric vehicles, installing three EV charging stations in 2013 and encouraging local businesses to do the same.

Citing higher than average electric-car ownership across the North Shore, the city will install two twin-outlet stations in the municipal parking garage that serves city hall and the library, and one twin-outlet station at the new city works yard, which opens on Bewicke Avenue next month.

While the green project is still in the request-for-proposals stage, the deadline for applicants is Dec. 11 and the new EV units have to be up and running by the end of March 2013 to qualify for provincial grants.

The move puts the city in the company of West Vancouver and North Vancouver district, where charging stations are already planned in the New Year for the Gleneagles Community Centre, Capilano River Regional Park, North Van district hall, the North Shore Auto Mall and Capilano University.

Three public-use EV stations already exist; one in the Mountain Equipment Co-op parking lot on Brooksbank Avenue, one at Angel Restoration on Rupert Street and one outlet at Cypress Mountain.

City Mayor Darrell Mussatto said the three new city charging stations will be cost-free for the public to use, but users at the city hall lot will have to pay for parking.

The Community Charging Infrastructure Fund is a $2.74-million B.C. government initiative to build a province-wide network of 570 charging stations to boost EV use in B.C.

And that money isn’t just for local governments. Business owners too were given until the end of last month to apply for grants of up to $4,000 to install their own EV outlets at work.

It was an idea Café for Contemporary Art owner Tyler Russell leapt at after an errant automobile leapt the curb in front of his shop this summer, calling timber on a young shade tree. A kind of eco- epiphany ensued and Russell decided an electric-car charger would make for a fitting tribute to the splintered tree.

Last week, city officials and consultants with environmental design firm Golder Associates visited the Lower Lonsdale café to see if it’s a good site for an EV station.

In terms of clientele, the demand is already growing, Russell says. It’s not unusual to see a Nissan Leaf or similar electric car parked in front of the shop. And if Russell notices, he’ll usually buy them a coffee, he says.

“They’re saving the world,” the café owner tells The Outlook. “I owe them something for doing something for my kid.”

The installation of an EV station at the East Esplanade café would require dedicated EV parking at intervals of four hours or more to ensure enough time for a proper charge. And while that could cost Russell customers in the long run, he’s confident it’s the right thing to do.

“I’d really like to have a charging station anywhere near this place or anywhere for that matter,” he said. “It’s an essential shift in how we operate in the world.”

tcoyne@northshoreoutlook.com
twitter.com/toddcoyne

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