City to put BC Hydro in charge of Salmon Arm vehicle charging station

Staff reports electric vehicle charging station cost the city while receiving minimal use

City council has agreed to let BC Hydro be in charge of the electric vehicle charging station in the Ross Street parking lot.

The decision followed a recommendation from staff that council support the transfer of responsibility for the ownership and operation of the direct current fast charge station, as well as lease the land the station is located on, including two parking stalls, to BC Hydro.

At its regular meeting of Monday, July 27, council received an explanation for the request from city engineering and public works director Rob Niewenhuizen. He explained a five-year lease agreement the city signed with the provincial utility in 2015 to host and operate the charging station ends this month.

Read more: Electric vehicle chargers being installed at Salmon Arm Canadian Tire

Read more: Car charge stations don’t spark surge of traffic

In a related written report to council, Niewenhuizen said operational costs for the charging station were capped at $15,000 for the term of the lease. However, the city saw little revenue from it as usage was, on average, minimal.

Niewenhuizen pointed out the city has been able to include the charging station in its climate action reporting to the province for carbon credits, and it has also been a benefit to the downtown. However, he said there have been maintenance issues with the station, and staff were supportive of the transfer.

The station will remain in its current location, and BC Hydro will be looking to add a second charger.

“Currently we have two parking stalls and one charge station, so it can only charge one vehicle at a time,” said Niewenhuizen. “They would like to eventually put another charge station in so both parking stalls could be utilized.”

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