The Lakeland Holding Group of Companies can count on Burk's Falls for support as it applies for funding to create a network of electric vehicle charging stations in the Muskoka and Parry Sound districts. Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) is giving interested groups until June 22 to get applications into it for up to 50 per cent funding for EV charging stations. Lakeland has a total of 11 charging stations in Parry Sound and Bracebridge, with five of the chargers located at the company's office in Bracebridge. Lakeland hopes to apply for 20 Level 2 charging stations and two Level 3 chargers. Level 3 chargers can fully charge electric vehicles more quickly but also require more power, which is delivered through a three-phase power system. Many communities don't operate on the three-phase system, but that's not the case with Burk's Falls. Coun. John Wilson says the community has “three-phase power all over town. “So that would be a huge advantage for economic development on Main Street,” Wilson said. In supporting Lakeland's effort, council also tossed around a couple of possible locations where Lakeland could set up charging stations, including the local health centre and the arena. At this point these are only suggestions. Lakeland has to examine possible sites to see which are suited for a Level 2 or Level 3 charger. It's also expected to look at possible sites in Sundridge, where council agreed to a letter of intent two weeks ago to work with Lakeland on the charging stations project. In an earlier interview with The Nugget, Jennifer Montpetit, the company's manager of advanced planning and communications, said Lakeland couldn't install the charging stations on its own because of the massive costs involved and needed the maximum 50 per cent funding through NRCan. Montpetit says the infrastructure cost of a single Level 3 charger ranges from $50,000 to $80,000 plus a further $30,000 to install the equipment. Level 2 infrastructure is much cheaper at several thousand dollars for the equipment and $10,000 to $15,000 for installation. In terms of charging times and types of electric vehicles, Montpetit says a Level 2 charger provides 30 kilometres of driving distance for every hour of charging. A full charge at a Level 2 station may take six to 14 hours. The much more powerful Level 3 charger gives the owner a driving range of 100 kilometres after a 30-minute charge. A full charge can take one to four hours. Montpetit says Lakeland will learn in the early fall if its NRCan application is successful. That will be followed by negotiating agreements with participating communities, which clears the way for installation beginning next spring. In a letter to Almaguin communities, Lakeland explains how the federal government wants light-duty vehicles with zero per cent emissions to make up 10 per cent of the sales in this category by 2025. By 2030, zero emitting light-duty vehicles would make up 30 per cent of the sales and by 2040, the number of light-duty vehicles with zero emissions would be 100 per cent of all sales. NRCan identifies light-duty vehicles as fleet vehicles owned or leased by organizations and says taxis would be an example of a light-duty vehicle. The application Lakeland is putting together for NRCan is not intended for residential dwellings.
Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Bay Nugget