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MP Gerretsen announces funding for new electric vehicle fast charging stations

Mark Gerretsen, Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands, addresses the audience at the Kingston Climate Change Symposium on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. Photo by Tori Stafford.

Canadians continue to make more sustainable choices, and electric and alternative fuel vehicles play a big role in Canada’s low-carbon future.

On Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019, a number of Kingstonians attended the Kingston Climate Change Symposium, presented by Sustainable Kingston and City of Kingston at The Grand Theather. Those in attendance found out about how the federal government is providing more means of transportation for Canadians while reducing their carbon footprint, particularly here in Kingston with electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.

On behalf of Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Island, Mark Gerretsen, announced a $100,000 federal investment to build two Level Three EV fast charging stations in our very own downtown core. That funding will go toward the $280,000 price tag of the two new fast-charging stations, and therefore towards the “clean growth” of Canada, Gerretsen explained.

“The world is at a pivotal moment, the time when climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our generation, when clean energy solutions are the new imperative, and when investing in clean technology and green infrastructure is essential to future success,” Gerretsen said.

“Our vision for Canada in the century of clean growth is what we are here to accomplish, to celebrate an important milestone in our city’s transition to a cleaner and even brighter future.”

Built by the City of Kingston and partly funded through Natural Resources Canada’s Electric Vehicle and Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Deployment Initiative, the chargers are scheduled to be available fall of 2019.

“When these two new stations are completed in the fall, they will be among our city’s first level three fast chargers, enabling more drivers and more friends and neighbours to make switches to electric vehicles,” Gerretsen said.

“This matters because the transportation sector is responsible for about 25 per cent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, and three-fourths of those emissions come from just two sources: passenger vehicles and trucks, and heavy-duty commercial vehicles.”

This funding is part of the Federal Government’s $182.5 million investment to develop a nationwide charging network for electric vehicles and to establish natural gas stations along key freight corridors and hydrogen stations in Canadian metropolitan centres. To avoid cross-border issues, this investment will also ensure Canada–U.S. alignment of regulations for low-carbon vehicles and refuelling infrastructure.

For Paul MacLatchy, environment director of real estate and environmental initiatives for the City of Kingston, the announcement was welcomed with open arms, as Kingstonians are increasingly using the already existing 42 Level Two EV charging stations in the city, the first of which was installed in July of 2018.

“I really am appreciative of natural resources Canada and their program to help municipalities like ours put this network of fast charging stations in place, because that’s what electric vehicle drivers need now. They want to be able to feel confident that they will be able to get from where they are to where they need to go and there’s going to be charging infrastructure along the way in case they need it,” MacLatchy said.

The Level Two charging stations take approximately four hours to deliver a full charge to a vehicle, MacLatchy explained. The new Level Three stations will be able to do that in as little as 30 to 40 minutes. Both will be installed in the Frontenac Parking Lot, which is located beside the Leon’s Centre.

“We’ve seen the use of the charging stations gradually growing, even with the removal of the financial incentive for people to buy electric vehicles in Ontario. I think at last count we were at over 2,500 unique charging sessions since they were installed,” MacLatchy said.

“There’s definitely a growing demand.”

And, in response to quip Gerretsen made as he was exiting the Symposium where he stated only EVs should be able to park in spots with EV charging stations – a joke that received a healthy round of applause from the audience, MacLatchy said that changes to the parking bylaws are being looked into.

“We are bringing an information report to city council on Tuesday, Jan. 22, and it will have a lot of information in the report about that, but in a nutshell, what we’re saying is that this is all very brand new, and we expect that we will need to change our parking bylaws at some point to allow enforcement of EV-only charging and parking,” he said.

To find electric vehicle charging station in Kingston or elsewhere in Canada check out ChargeHub.

With files from Nour Mazloum.

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