A new plan to encourage green vehicles in Langley Township passed its first hurdle on Monday with the unanimous support of the council.
The Low Carbon Mobility Plan will go to a public hearing before being considered for final approval.
“I’m so delighted that our staff has put this together,” said Councillor Petrina Arnason, who sits on Metro Vancouver’s Climate Action Committee. She suggested taking the plan to Metro Vancouver to possibly inspire other local councils.
“Do we have any kind of an idea what the financial impact to the Township is going to be, or if there will be a financial impact to the Township?” said Coun. Kim Richter.
There won’t be an immediate impact, according to Ramin Seifi, the Township’s general manager of community development. If approved, staff can undertake some low-cost items from within the plan without needing any extra funding.
Other initiatives contemplated in the plan would be debated during future budget discussions, Seifi said.
“We have to be economically sustainable as well as environmentally,” noted Arnason.
The report notes that 55 per cent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Langley Township come from vehicles. Facilitating the adoption of low and zero-emission vehicles is aimed at making an impact on GHG emissions.
The LCMP’s objectives are:
• Respond to the growing demand for EV infrastructure and services both corporately and community wide,
• Encourage and support faster adoption of EVs to aid in reducing greenhouse gas emissions,
• Establish the roles of the Township and the private sector in providing EV infrastructure and services, and
• Increase awareness and educate the public and industry about EVs.
The public has been taking up electric vehicles (EVs) in ever-larger numbers in recent years. The Township has created a number of electric charging stations at rec centres and civic buildings, and since 2013, the use of those stations climbed by 3,000 per cent.
Federal and provincial subsidies and increasing numbers of electrical vehicles from manufacturers have added to the number of EVs on local roads.
Parts of the LCMP report suggests possible regulations that could aid in the adoption of electrical vehicles, such as a proposed requirement for new houses and multi-family buildings to have the electrical infrastructure for an electrical charging station built in.
If given final approval, that regulation would take effect immediately for future developments.
There is apparently a demand for charging, as 69 per cent of respondents to a Township survey said they were “somewhat” to “very likely” to purchase an electric vehicle in the future.
Those with cars may find one downside to the report – with more options coming online, the Township will consider charging drivers for using its electrical vehicle outlets, on a cost-recovery basis.
Mayor Jack Froese noted that in the future, the Township may find itself competing with commercial charging stations.