GERTIE striving to go electric

·2 min read

With a funding application in for electric buses, the Gabriola Community Bus Foundation received confirmation of support from the Regional District of Nanaimo last week.

The RDN board has written a letter of support to accompany GCBF’s application for funding from Infrastructure Canada’s Rural Transit Solutions Fund to put toward the purchase of two electric buses.

The fund opened up in 2021 and will distribute $250 million over five years to projects that support transit development in rural and remote communities. The fund allows applicants to receive up to $5 million to support zero-emission solutions, such as the purchase of electric vehicles, among other projects and capital costs opportunities. As a non-profit organization, GCFB required documented support from local government in order to be eligible for funding.

In addition to the board letter, Electoral Are B Director Vanessa Craig also wrote a personal letter of support.

The bus foundation has confirmed support from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure should its federal funding bid result in success. The federal grant could cover 80 per cent of the purchasing cost, according to Craig.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a major pillar of the bus foundation’s mandate.

“We started out using waste vegetable oil, and then biodiesel, but we’ve always had the plan to go electric because an important part of our mandate is to reduce transportation-related emissions on Gabriola,” GCBF board director, Steve Earle, said. “With the new solar array on the roof of the old firehall, where the buses are kept, we anticipate that up to about half of the energy that goes into operating our buses can be ‘made on Gabriola’.”

The estimated cost for the buses is unknown at this time, but GCBF board directors said they have been looking at a range of vehicle options as part of their funding application.

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

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