Kiosk behind Visitor’s Centre tells about the solar energy panels put in October last year. Houston’s town council is may connect the electric vehicle charging station to the solar panels to minimize the costs.

Houston town council is charging into the future

Houston council decided last Tuesday to install an electric vehicle charging station in Houston.

Houston council decided last Tuesday to install an electric vehicle charging station in Houston.

The District of Houston is getting $8,000 from a grant from Plug in B.C., and will be investing an estimated $16,569, plus $4,215 for a five year commercial network service plan and extended warranty, to install a dual electric vehicle charging station.

Town council applied for the grant on Sept. 18 based on an estimated $10,000 dual station cost, with the suggestion of putting the station in Steelhead Park, connecting it to the solar energy panels near the Visitor Centre.

Now the agreement is signed for council to receive the $8,000 grant money and move forward with the $28,784 project, which must be done by March 31, 2013.

Councillor Rick Lundrigan opposed the move.

“This is just a prime example of councils in general, communities in general, going after grant money because it exists, not because it’s for something we actually need,” said Lundrigan.

“My opinion is that $20,000 could be spent on infrastructure that is already failing in this community rather then investing in this,” he added.

Mayor Bill Holmberg agreed that there may be better things to spend Houston’s money on, adding that though this is the way of the future, it may not be needed in Houston for another 20 years.

But Councillor Michalle Jolly says that council needs to be looking to the future, and though electric cars may not be in Houston yet, they may be in the next six or seven years.

“I think we’re missing out if we don’t take advantage of [the grant money],” she said, adding that it wouldn’t be nice if a few years down the road it becomes a necessity and the grant is gone and Houston didn’t have one.

Back when council was considering applying for the grant, they suggested that being one of the few places in northern B.C. with an electric vehicle charging station would help Houston business and tourism by bringing people to town and drawing them to shop in Houston while their vehicles charge.

Council hopes that connecting the station with the solar energy panels will also decrease the cost of the station.

Linda Poznikoff, District CAO, says that after the station is installed the cost of running it would be minimal.

And they’d only heard from one of 13 companies who sell the stations, so they may be able to get cheaper model, she added.


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