Peachland residents who use electric vehicles will continue to be able to use the charging stations at 2nd Street for free.
The district’s council decided to continue providing the service at no cost to customers during the Tuesday, Feb. 9 meeting.
Peachland’s director of operations Shawn Grundy said overall, it’s a minor cost to shoulder.
“The cost to operate the station in 2020 was approximately $1,750. There are options to charge consumers for their use… but at this point, seeing as the cost is relatively minor, there are benefits both to local businesses down in that area as well as the environment,” he said.
“The (staff) recommendation is that council continue to provide EV charging services at no charge to customers.”
Most of the district’s councillors were in favour of providing charging services for free, with Coun. Keith Fielding commenting that “it’s a great project”.
Grundy added that in order for Peachland to continue making a dent in its greenhouse gas emissions, they need to wait for vehicle manufacturers to be able to produce and sell trucks, which is what many residents in the area prefer to use. For now, he said the electric vehicles in town are mostly smaller cars, as those are what’s currently available.
Coun. Pete Coolio said he didn’t understand why they don’t charge for charging station usage.
“I see an awful lot of $80,000, $90,000 and $130,000 Teslas on the road. I understand the value of having charging stations… but these are very wealthy people driving these cars, so what’s the rationale behind free charging at this point?” he asked.
“It doesn’t cost us much a year… but why are we giving that away? Why don’t we make money off these charging stations?”
Grundy responded that it’s more to draw people to Peachland’s downtown, especially since the stations are slow charging, which could take 45 minutes up to an hour to give an electric vehicle a full charge.
“Typically, they aren’t just sitting in their car while they’re (charging their car). They’re walking, maybe they’re checking out the pub or maybe they’re going down to Bliss Bakery,” he said.
Mayor Cindy Fortin explained that the benefits outweigh the cost of the service, but she did say that at some point in the future, the council may decide to charge for the service.