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New homes in Kamloops must now be electric vehicle capable

Council has unanimously adopted a bylaw that requires electric vehicle charging infrastructure in new residential development
electric vehicle charging

A new bylaw requiring new residential development to be electric vehicle capable is expected to make it easier for Kamloops residents to go electric in the future.

On Tuesday (Sept. 20), council adopted a zoning amendment bylaw that requires electric vehicle charging infrastructure in new residential development.

The city’s sustainability manager, Glen Cheetham, explained that for new single-family homes, a developer will be required to install a 60-amp wire originating from the electrical panel. It will not be connected, but will have to run through a wall to a junction box in close proximity to a parking stall.

Cheetham said electric vehicle capable parking is important because in Kamloops, a majority of greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation. Other areas being targeted in the city’s Community Climate Action Plan include buildings and waste.

Improving active transportation and vehicular electrification are part of efforts to reduce emissions.

For single-family homes, Cheetham said, it is not generally as challenging to install electric vehicle chargers because homeowners have full autonomy.

Where the bylaw will really promote access to electric vehicle charging is in new multi-family development.

Cheetham said the new bylaw will mean developers will provide, at the time of ownership, an electric vehicle plan to a strata and include important information, such as insurance of sufficient electrical capacity, at the time of construction.

“This takes us a long ways from where we are today,” Cheetham said, adding many multi-family buildings in the city do not currently have capacity for electric vehicle charging.

Cheetham said the city has heard from people in multi-family residential buildings who have electric or hybrid vehicles and rely entirely on public charging infrastructure. He said it is inconvenient, noting more than 70 per cent of all such drivers charge at home, similar to charging one’s cellphone.

“It comes down to enabling electric vehicle adoption and it removes a key barrier to EV adoption, which, namely, is access to home charging,” Cheetham told KTW.

Council's unanimous vote to adopt the bylaw followed a public hearing this past summer that drew concern from the building industry and led to a downscaling of the requirement.

Meanwhile, council this week also received an update on the Community Climate Action Plan.

Nearly two-thirds of the plan’s short-term actions have been implemented in the first year of implementation.

The city highlighted updates to its zoning bylaw to support a more compact community, construction of cycling lanes underway, the new EV charging requirements, 50 homes having been built in Kamloops to the new BC Energy Step Code level three, authorization of a community-wide curbside residential organic waste collection and a sustainable funding source to implement the strategy.

Council recently approved a tax increase to build up a reserve for climate action initiatives. The city has about $1.1 million in climate action funds set aside in reserves, $444,000 of which came from municipal taxation. Since 2021, the city has secured nearly $6.9 million in grant funds to support climate action. The city said it is important to have funds set aside for matching funds to grant opportunities, which is usually required by provincial and federal governments.

In 2021, corporate greenhouse gas emissions resulted in an 11 per cent decrease over 2007 baseline emissions.

“While this represents an 11 per cent decrease over 2007 baseline emissions, the BC electricity emissions intensity factor for 2021 was substantially lower than in previous years, which accounts for much of the city’s corporate emissions decrease,” a report to council states.

The city is working toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by 2030 and 80 per cent by 2050, compared to its 2007 baseline.