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County asked to pay for installation of electric vehicle charging stations at private business sites

TRURO - A request for Colchester County to spend $3,600 to install electric vehicle charging stations at three locations has been referred back to staff to seek further information.

Municipal solicitor Dennis James has also been asked to clarify the county's legal position on the matter.

"Kind of, in theory, it's a good idea," Coun. Mike Cooper said during council discussion Thursday night. "Except it's private business and I don't believe we should be in private business."

James said he also had concerns with the request, because of the province's Municipal Government Act (MGA) regulations, which do not permit municipalities to contribute financially to any private business.

"I'm a little concerned about how that flows," he said, of the question of who would actually own the charging stations once they are installed on the property of a private business.

The municipality recently received a request from Nova Scotia Electric Vehicle Highway Services (EVHS) to participate in a program designed at creating a network of vehicle charging stations (VCS) across the province to provide convenient refueling stations for electric vehicles.

EVHS hopes to see three charging stations created within the county, in Brookfield, Bible Hill and Bass River. While the company is prepared to supply the actual charging stations, it is hoping the county will contribute $1,200 towards the installation cost at each location.

The businesses involved would then be expected to pick up the tab - at least for the first year - for the electricity used to charge the vehicles that use the service.

The cost of each charge is estimated at $1.50 with busy locations expected to provide up to three charges per week.

Coun. Christine Blair said that while it would be good to see a charging station in each community, if the MGA says the municipality can't contribute to a private business, "then that's it."

And Coun. Karen MacKenzie suggested that if the charging stations are being installed at private locations, the costs should be borne by those owners.

"If we're paying for them they've got to put them in a public place," she said.

Coun. Tom Taggart, however, suggested that supporting the program is good from an economic development perspective.

"I think these electric cars may catch on," he said, "and I want them coming to West Colchester."

Twitter: @tdnharry


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