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New homes in Kamloops may be required to be pre-wired for electric vehicle charging

By a 6-3 vote, Kamloops council has directed staff to draft a bylaw, which may come into effect in 2023
electric vehicle charging

New residential construction, including single-family homes and multi-family developments, will likely require accommodations for electric-vehicle charging beginning next year.

On Tuesday (Feb. 15), Kamloops council, via a 6-3 vote, directed staff to draft a bylaw aimed at one of the most prolific greenhouse gas emitters identified in the city’s Community Climate Action Plan — transportation.

The city’s sustainability supervisor, Glen Cheetham, told KTW the new bylaw would apply to new construction only and not include renovations.

To be EV-ready, a parking space must be located near a pre-wired electrical circuit capable of supplying a level two EV charger, allowing homeowners or property manager to install chargers in the future without having to undergo costly and complex electrical upgrades.

Cheetham told KTW it is easier and less expensive to rough in access at the construction stage than it is to retrofit existing buildings. Council heard notable developments are not currently voluntarily providing access to EV charging.

The city consulted with various groups, including the business community, the Central Interior chapter of the Canadian Home Builders Association, the cycling community, Interior Health and Thompson Rivers University.

Cost (estimated at $500 per stall for single-family developments and $1,200 per stall for multi-family projects) was identified as a key concern, as was low demand for electric vehicles locally.

An online survey by the city revealed 14 per cent of respondents currently own and use electric vehicles. Cheetham noted to council, however, that the province is on track to mandate 100 per cent new electric vehicle sales and leases by 2035.

Coun. Sadie Hunter called the initiative “proactive.” She said it will allow new developments in Kamloops to be ready to absorb demand for electric vehicles in the future.

“We’re going to suddenly find ourselves in a position five to 10, 15 years from now, where there is a surge of demand for people who have electric vehicles and nowhere to charge them, so it is incumbent on us to have that longer-term vision and look at how we can set the community up for success,” Hunter said. “And, in my mind, that is exactly what this will do, so I’m completely in support of this.”

Mayor Ken Christian and councillors Hunter, Dieter Dudy, Kathy Sinclair, Arjun Singh and Denis Walsh voted in favour of having staff create the bylaw. Councillors Dale Bass, Mike O’Reilly and Bill Sarai were opposed. O’Reilly said costs would be passed on to homeowners during a housing affordability crisis, labelling the initiative a “regressive tax,” placing greater financial burden on buyers of multi-family units than those purchasing more expensive single-family homes.

Bass said lithium batteries used in electric vehicles are difficult to recycle, noting the elements are mined by children in Congo.

Council also voted to allocate $10,000 from the city’s climate reserve fund for training and marketing initiatives to support industry for the new requirements.

The new requirements are expected to take effect on Jan. 1, 2023.