Electoral approval needed for RDN to fund installation of charging stations in RDN Electoral Areas

·2 min read

Two bylaws for electric vehicle charging stations, one for a service establishment and one for a reserve fund, have been approved by the Regional District of Nanaimo’s board of directors, teeing up an alternative approval process to set up four stations, including on Gabriola.

One Level 2 charging station would be installed in each of Electoral Areas B, E, G and H. The bylaws will first go to the inspector of municipalities for approval. Following that, an alternative approval process (AAP) begins with the the deadline for receiving elector responses set for 4 p.m. on Feb. 15, 2021. Since the service doesn’t exist in the RDN presently, bylaws must be set up and approved by electors before making it a reality, Electoral Area B Director Vanessa Craig explained.

In an alternative approval process, 10 per cent of electors have to submit the AAP form in order to bat down the proposed bylaws and service. A total of 19,947 electors will participate in this AAP throughout Electoral Areas B, E, G and H. That would mean more than 1,994 electors would need to submit response forms by the Feb. 2021 deadline saying that they are opposed to the adoption of the service bylaw. No action is necessary for electors who are not opposed.

RDN staff expect to begin the AAP in January following provincial approval of the bylaws. Forms will be accessible and submittable online and in-person at the RDN Nanaimo office. Watch for notices in local newspapers.

On Gabriola, following a site analysis, the charging station would be installed at Descanso Bay Regional Park. The annual cost estimate to maintain and operate the four electoral area charging stations is $20,236. Based on 2020 assessments, EA B would pay $3,870. Allocations will change once the 2021 assessments are received at the end of this year. Charging stations are expected to be installed by mid-2021.

The bylaw and APP approval by the board follows a September announcement that the RDN and 11 local government partners received a Provincial CleanBC Communities Fund grant to install 28 EV charging stations, 10 destined for the RDN. The grant application was led by the RDN to support the development of a mid-Island EV charging network ranging north to Campbell River and west to Tofino and Ucluelet.

Rachelle Stein-Wotten, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Gabriola Sounder