Perth council pulls plug on grant application for EV charging stations

EV Charging
The Town of Perth defeated a motion for staff to apply for a grant worth $450,000 to bring four EV charging stations to the Perth Museum parking lot. Photo credit: Unsplash.
Posted on: January 31, 2024

Perth council pulled the plug on an application to help fund four Level 3 EV charging stations. 

It was a project that could have seen a grant, if successful, pay for 75 per cent of the total cost.

During a regular meeting of council on Jan. 30, Brian Burns, director of corporate services/treasurer, proposed that staff apply for a grant for $450,000 through the EVCharge Ontario that could help pay for four high level electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in the Perth Museum parking lot. 

The remaining $150,000 would come from the capital reserve.

The Ministry of Transportation has created the Electric Vehicle ChargeON Program to support the installation of EV charging stations in Ontario in underserviced areas. The program offers a 75 per cent grant for eligible costs related to the installation of high-speed charging stations. 

The Ministry of Transportation has created the Electric Vehicle ChargeON Program to support the installation of EV charging stations in Ontario in underserviced areas.

Burns noted in his report that the investment would support the expansion of EVs in Lanark County as there are no non-Tesla high speed charging between Carleton Place and Norwood. 

“Because of this, it can be expected that this investment will also support tourism and business development in the downtown,” Burns noted. 

Staff obtained preliminary confirmation from Hydro One that the pad mount transformer in the lot has the required capacity, with a three-phase supply and the appropriate voltage. 

“It is expected that a step-up external transformer will be required for the AC/DC conversion needed for the stations and once the electrical demand for the stations is confirmed, staff will work with Hydro One to confirm the capacity of the existing network.”

The initial investment would be funded from the capital reserve, “with an expected payback of seven years, so it all goes back,” Burns noted. 

Coun. Jim Boldt said he felt they were being forced into the electric vehicle era.

“My concern is, here we go again with downloading and supplementing the cost of running someone’s car … If we are going to be forced into this, if the initiative is from the federal government, then (they) should be paying 100 per cent of the bill for putting in these charging stations.”

Boldt’s other concern was cost. 

Burns said the cost was not being downloaded to the municipality, or any percentage of the cost. 

“We are just temporarily financing it but we’re expecting to make all that money back over the period or time,” Burns said. 

Based on usage of the current EV stations at Crystal Palace, Burns said they expected to have “very good usage” of the four proposed Level 3 stations. 

Burns said this could also benefit the Downtown Business Association as it would help draw people into the core. 

Deputy Mayor Ed McPherson was not in favour of the motion. 

“I think this is the beginning of the future of car charging stations, but I’m not sure Perth has to be the one to look after cars between Ottawa and Norwood or Toronto … I’m hoping these things come down in price over the next few years.”

Boldt said he needed more time to digest the role of the town when it comes to financing EV chargers, as this proposal was only recently thrust upon them. 

“I’m not against applying for the grant,” Boldt said, but he wasn’t comfortable with proceeding with the little bit of information he had. 

Burns said there wasn’t a downside to applying for the grant, as they would still need to go through a lot of technical discussion if their application was successful. The town would be competing with every other municipality for the funding. 

Coun. Isabel Anne McRae said she’d like more information – like how this would be revenue generating, and what costs are involved for maintaining the chargers. 

Burns said it would be a learning experience if they were successful with the grant application. 

“We will have to figure out a lot of details, such as that,” he said. The timeline for the application was Jan. 31. 

The motion was defeated.

Hometown News
Author: Hometown News