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City looking at EV charging stations downtown

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

Oshawa should prepare to go electric as Oshawa Power is pushing for the installation of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.

OPUC President Ivano Labricciosa sent a letter to Oshawa city council asking them to enter into an agreement to install EV charging stations downtown, on his company’s dime.

“OPUC has been growing a portfolio of activities regarding zero-emission and autonomous transportation, as a way of fostering new electrical loads, encouraging our community’s sustainability and spurring-on economic development opportunities associated with vehicle innovations,” he writes to council.

Due to OPUC’s efforts, the company has been granted more than $12 million in funding for projects within the zero emissions and autonomous vehicle innovation spaces.

With this funding, Labricciosa says OPUC is seeking to collaborate with the city to install EV chargers at city owned parking lots and along city streets.

On-street locations identified in his letter include 75 Charles St., 109 Bruce St., and 11 Simcoe St. S.

Parking lots include the Arts Resource Centre, 45 Queen St.; Parking Lot 15, 70 to 78 Albert St.; Lakeview Park; and Parking Lot 18, 74 Carriage Works Dr.

At the most recent community services committee meeting, Ward 4 City Councillor Derek Giberson expressed his approval for the project.

“The need for EV charging stations around Oshawa is vital,” he says, adding there isn’t a huge risk for the city because OPUC will be funding it.

Ward 5 City Councillor John Gray and Ward 3 City Councillor Bradley Marks both supported the initiative, with Gray stating there is a need in the community.

Giberson’s Ward 4 regional counterpart Rick Kerr says the introduction of EV charging stations reminds him of another point in history when everybody rode a horse and then automobiles came along and created a need for gas stations.

He says this is the way he thinks the world is heading in terms of transportation, and having the EV charging stations makes sense.

“I think it’s a case of putting your toe in the water,” says Kerr.

Ultimately, the committee voted in favour of teaming up with OPUC, and the issue will now head to council for approval.