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New EV charging station to be installed

And locals have a chance to test drive an electric vehicle this Friday
Danielle Wiess, a project manager with the Vancouver-based Community Energy Association that’s setting up a region-wide electric vehicle charging network, will be at the farmers’ market Aug. 19 to promote electric vehicles. That’s the Mustang Mach-E she’ll be driving. (Community Energy Association photo)

Houston is set to have an addition to its electric vehicle charging options by next month.

And that’s to have a Level II charging station installed at Steelhead Park, replacing an old and outdated Level I charger now there which is well past its useful life.

“We are awaiting confirmation dates from the contractor, but anticipate work to commence and be completed later this month or in September,” says District of Houston chief administrative officer Michael Dewar last week.

Level II chargers can power up an electric vehicle within two hours to four hours and the installation here is part of a network organized by the Vancouver-based Community Energy Association amounting to more than 50 charger installations in more than 30 locations from Haida Gwaii east to Prince George and south along Hwy97 through the Cariboo.

While the majority of the cost of the chargers is being borne by a series of senior government grants, local contributions are required and in this circumstance, the District of Houston has committed $5,000 to the installation here. The total project cost for the station at Steelhead Park is $22,966.

To help promote the use of electric vehicles and the addition of charging station options, Danielle Wiess, a project manager for the Community Energy Association’s Charge North project, will be at the Houston Farmers’ Market Aug. 19 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

She’ll be driving a Ford Mustang electric vehicle and there will be the opportunity for test rides.

Level II chargers are being viewed as a way not only for people travelling through an area to charge their vehicles but as an attraction point by communities. While a vehicle is being powered up, its occupants can then visit local stores and restaurants.

As it is, Houston is already a host community to a BC Hydro Level III charging station which powers up vehicles at a faster rate than can a Level II charger. That installation went into service this past winter.

There will be no charge to use the Level II station but BC Hydro does charge for its stations.

BC Hydro’s fast charging location in Houston opened in March 2022 and as of last week, had recorded 80 charging sessions.

The crown corporation has chargers in Prince Rupert, New Hazelton, Smithers, Burns Lake, Fraser Lake and Prince George and collectively, they recorded 1,318 charging sessions since March 2022 up until early August.

Prince George was the busiest location in that group with Prince Rupert second followed by Burns Lake and Smithers, indicated BC Hydro.

Here’s a list of where Level II chargers will be installed:

* 100 Mile House (two stations)

* Ashcroft (two stations)

* Barriere (two stations)

* Burns Lake (one station at the municipal parking lot beside the Lakeland Hotel on Hwy16)

* Granisle (one station at the tourist information centre)

* Haida Gwaii - Masset (one station); Tow Hill (one station); Sandspit (one station); Queen Charlotte (one station)

* Hazelton (one station at Bastion Park)

* Kitimat (two stations, one at Nechako Centre and the other at Mountainview Square)

* Logan Lake (two stations)

* McBride (four stations)

* Nisga’a Nation (five stations, including one at the Nisga’a National Museum in Greenville)

* Prince George (12 stations)

* Prince Rupert (two stations)

* Quesnel (two stations)

* Smithers (two stations)

* Stellat’en First Nation (one station)

* Stewart (one station)

* Sun Peaks (two stations)

* Terrace (two stations at the visitor information centre on Keith Ave./Hwy16)

* Valemount (two stations)

* Vanderhoof (two stations)