Those hoping to charge their electric vehicles while visiting certain schools in North Vancouver will now have to fork out for the service, as the North Vancouver School District has replaced old stations with new pay-per-use models.
Existing, previously free-to-use electric vehicle charging stations at Ecole Argyle Secondary and the Education Services Centre have been revamped with new pay-per-use editions, while Ecole Handsworth Secondary and Mountainside Secondary will soon receive their first stations.
Other schools are still to be determined.
Luke Smeaton, the school district’s manager of energy and sustainability, said he expects the “big shift” to a pay model to bring about a drop in activity.
“We’ve seen that it’s already largely impacted the usage of these stations, which we expected but we weren’t quite sure how big the impact would be,” he said.
Smeaton said the motive behind employing pay stations was to make the district “more consistent with what’s already out there” in the community.
“We wanted to move to that model because at the end of the day these things cost money to purchase, the electricity that we’re providing also costs money, and when it comes time to renew them at the end of their life cycle, we will need money to fund that too,” he said.
Smeaton said the stations help cater to the growing number of people who own electric vehicles but don’t have the facilities to charge them at home.
That said, he added, the stations are designated for staff, students and official visitors only – intended to support the commute to and from school, rather than being a substitute for home charging for the wider public.
“We are exploring the potential for community use outside of school hours on a site-by-site basis,” he said, adding how the program is “certainly in its early stages.”
In a statement released prior to the winter break, the North Vancouver School District said the sites were selected based on the “availability of electrical infrastructure,” and that remaining secondary schools will be targeted for “future phases of the charging-station rollout” along with further elementary school sites undergoing upgrades.
“The installation of these EV charging stations represents the first step in a broader rollout of standardized charging infrastructure for students and staff and demonstrates the school district’s commitment to environmental stewardship,” it read.
Mina Kerr-Lazenby is the North Shore News’ Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.
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