Waters: Kelowna wrong to drop incentive to drive a hybrid vehicle

Hydrid vehicles loose city parking perk in favour of electric plug-in vehicles.

Kelowna city hall is sending a message to hybrid vehicles owners enrolled in its Eco-pass free-parking program—if you don’t plug in, you’re no longer plugged into the program.

On Monday council voted to toss hybrid vehicles out of the Eco-pass program, which offers owners of environmentally-friendly vehicles free parking downtown in return for being friendly to the environment with their choice of vehicle.

City parking manager Dave Duncan told council city that staff believe the incentive to get drivers into fuel-efficient hybrids and out of gas-guzzling, pollution-creating regular engined vehicles has been successful, so now it’s time to move forward and do the same with electric vehicles.

The move is expected to reduce the number of eco-passes the city distributes from about 1,000 currently out there, to around 200, unless there is a big upswing in electric car sales here.

Oh, and only drivers living in the Central Okanagan Regional District area will get a pass.

The Eco-pass, introduced as a temporary program in 2005, has been a way for the city to reward drivers for buying fuel-efficient vehicles. It has been extended a few times in the last 10 years and is now an ongoing program. Any driver of a hybrid or plug-in electric vehicle has been able to apply for a pass and get to park fee on downtown streets for the maximum time allowed by the meter.

But no more. Once the current passes expire, or the end of the year for non-dated older passes, hybrids are out and only plug-ins are…er…in.

Not all councillors like the move. Couns. Luke Stack and Charlie Hodge both voted against, with Stack saying the total number of hybrids on the road is still not that high and driving one is still doing something positive for the environment.

He’s right. There’s nothing wrong with the city promoting the use of all fuel-efficient vehicles.

But in the eyes of his council colleagues, the cutting edge gets the reward, not an engine that’s been around for a few years now.

Good behaviour, it would seem, is only to be rewarded if it is accompanied by the latest technology.

What sort of signal does that send?


In related news the city is getting two new electric car plug-in stands—one for the use of the local car share program and one for the public—in the downtown Kelowna Heritage Museum parking lot.

Fortis B.C. will pay to have the stations installed and look after them. There will be no cost to use the charging stations but drivers will have to pay to park in the city-owned lot in order to plug in.



Alistair Waters is the assistant editor of the Capital News.


Just Posted

Falkland artist favours, fights for fish

Lottie Kozak does all kinds of art; one of her favourite subjects, fish, is dwindling

The Westbank First Nation to be a fixture of Westside Daze

This Canada Day long weekend mark your calendars

Updated: Kelowna cops investigate armed robbery at city centre business

Robbery sparks late afternoon manhunt by armed police officers with guns drawn

Reducing the risk of wildfire in Kelowna

New city plan has 47 recommendations to cut down on the risk of wildfire

Kelowna mayor pays emotional tribute to late senior city manager

Colin Basran chokes up remembering city corporate and protective services director Rob Mayne Monday

Updated: Kelowna cops investigate armed robbery at city centre business

Robbery sparks late afternoon manhunt by armed police officers with guns drawn

UPDATED: Oliver wildfire extinguished, B.C. Wildfire mopping up

6-ha. brush fire contained before it could spread farther

Late goal gives England 2-1 win over Tunisia

At the last World Cup in 2014, England couldn’t even win a game

Canadian military police officer pleads not guilty to sex assault

Sgt. Kevin MacIntyre, 48, entered his plea today at a court martial proceeding in Halifax

Vernon cold case murder suspect bail hearing Tuesday

Paramjit Singh Bogarh will appear in Vernon Law Courts at 10 a.m. June 19

Elvis lives again in Penticton

Elvis Festival back this weekend for 17th year

Athletics, Parsons stay hot in four-game sweep

Okanagan takes two PBL doubleheaders from UBC Thunder at Elks Stadium

Tigers looking to lock up title

Face Flames tonight in Penticton

Cheers erupt as Federal Court judge approves historic gay purge settlement

Gay military veterans said they were interrogated, harassed and spied on because of their sexuality

Most Read