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

Imagine Kelowna’s future this week

Four community meetings will take place on the future of the city

Accidents mount as snow falls

Kelowna drivers are having a tough time with worsening conditions

Kelowna’s global awareness festival set to go

Festival organizers get $22,800 grant from federal government to help stage this year’s events

Bus slams into truck at Kelowna intersection

A transit bus and a pick-up truck came together in the noon hour in Kelowna

Downtown Kelowna shopping mall getting face lift

The Towne Centre Mall on Bernard will be renamed and renovated inside and out

Scandia Jungle mini golf course reopening

Kelowna - Rutland Elementary students were the first ones to try the revamped course Tuesday

Castlegar homicide victim identified

The victim was 38-year-old Jordan Workman of Castlegar, B.C.

B.C. Liberal leadership candidates get one last prime-time pitch

Leadership campaign to be decided in Feb. 3 vote

Letter: Dictatorships don’t happen by accident

Kelowna letter-writer says people following Donald Trump are enabling him

Team chaplain reflects on time with Silverbacks

Kenny Toews served as a mentor and spiritual leader to the team for six seasons

Drawings connect autistic student with the world

Leifen Mitchell-Banks creates colourful cartoon characters at Salmon Arm Secondary.

Lake Country skier named Olympic alternate

Ian Deans will be a back up for the men’s ski cross team in South Korea

Andrew Scheer on trade, Trump and Trudeau

Canada’s Conservative leader begins three-day visit to B.C.

10 Safeways in Lower Mainland to close, union says

Locations in Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey, Coquitlam, Richmond and Mission slated to shut

Most Read