Billings supports public EV charging station idea

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KAGAWONG – Billings Township council will be forwarding a letter of intent to develop a partnership to provide a public electric vehicle (EV) charging station in Kagawong.

“This is pretty exciting,” stated Billings Mayor Ian Anderson, at a council meeting this past Monday.
“This is awesome and I thank Kim (Neale, climate change co-ordinator for Billings) for providing this information. I know I’m excited about this proposal,” said councillor Sharon Alkenbrack.
“Kim’s report is very well written and researched,” said councillor Sharon Jackson. “As you know, the former Go Green Committee had wanted to get something like this off the ground,” she said, noting the same type of system is in place at the Huron Sands Motel in Providence Bay.

“This is a great idea and initiative, one that council has been tossing around for some time now,” said councillor Bryan Barker. 

In her report to council Ms. Neale explained, “I am very excited to present council with a unique opportunity to become the first municipality on Manitoulin Island to adopt public EV charging stations with zero upfront costs or capital expenditures. The only cost to the municipality will be an annual service fee of ($1,200-$2,000) and hydro. Costs to the municipality will be offset by charging EV station user fees at the station (e.g. $2.50 per hour) and by selling advertising space at each location.”

The Ivy Charging Network is a 50/50 Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and Hydro One partnership to accelerate EV infrastructure and to leverage Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) funding, Ms. Neale’s report explains. “The level two charger program offered by NRCan provides federal dollars for 50 percent of the costs to install each level two connector up to $5,000 per connector with a 20 EV connector minimum,” said Ms. Neale. 

Ms. Neale noted that, under the program, the municipality provides locations for the EV stations to be installed. The locations must have a municipal hydro hook up available; users pay a fee to activate the EV station and offset hydro costs. The actual Ivy stations are installed, owned and maintained by OPG. As well, a service fee is charged to the municipality of $1,200-$2,000 per year, per connector. The service fees are determined prior to installation and the community is under no obligation to move forward with the project until the service fees are set, agreed to and approved by council.

“The service fee varies from $1,200-2,000 because the cost of installation and servicing at each station may vary depending on site-specific conditions, including the existing hydro panel available for hook-up and civil work (trenching, repaving, etc.) required to perform the installation,” she continued.

“As a sustainability and climate change action leader on Manitoulin Island, the Township of Billings has a unique opportunity to become the first to join this provincial program in our region. The Ivy Charging Network already includes level three charging stations along major highways leading to Northern Ontario, including Sudbury,” Ms. Neale’s report continues. 

It was further explained the level three chargers provide EV owners the ability to obtain a full charge in half an hour. The level two chargers in this program can be used for 1-6 hours to obtain a full charge. “Having an EV station in our community will attract eco-tourists and environmentally conscious EV/hybrid owners to our business and tourism areas,” she explained. “While they are charging their EV they can shop, explore and stay at a local bed and breakfast near the EV station. This is a win-win-win opportunity that will result in greenhouse gas emission reductions and will ensure our municipality does not miss out on the growing population of EV owners who want to travel all over Ontario.”
“If we want to join the program, council needs to accept the attached letter of intent at council by the end of September,” said Ms. Neale. Once the letter of intent is passed with council’s endorsement, OPG will visit the community for site assessments and provide a specific cost for service fees at each station. 

The proposed location would be the parking lot at the Kagawong Park Centre. There would be a maximum of two parking spots and area adjacent to parking spots for the EV station location. The Township of Billings would grant OPG access to the Park Centre to operate, maintain and service hydro connections for the purpose of running EV stations only.

“This is a great report and pretty exciting stuff,” stated Councillor Barker.

“It will be good for the community,” added councillor Michael Hunt, who indicated he liked the proposed location for the EV charging station.

Council passed a resolution to send a letter of intent to OPG for the EV station.