Saanich council voted in favour of a bylaw guaranteeing each new development will be equipped with electric vehicle charging infrastructure. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Saanich bylaw sparks EV charging infrastructure requirements in new builds

All new developments to be EV-charger compatible starting Sept. 1

Starting this fall, all new developments built in Saanich will be equipped with power conduits compatible with electric vehicle (EV) chargers.

Saanich council recently gave first two readings to a zoning bylaw amendment that would come into effect on Sept. 1 and voted unanimously in favour of a new, standalone bylaw to specify the requirements. The Electric Vehicle Off-Street Parking Bylaw is also expected to come into effect on Sept. 1.

READ ALSO: Saanich plugs into $100,000 government grant for 20 new EV chargers

In September 2019, council asked municipal staff to prepare the necessary changes to the zoning bylaw to start June 1 but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the date was shifted to September.

“I’m very happy because essentially every new house that’s going to be built in Saanich is going to have electrical wiring for an electric vehicle,” said Coun. Colin Plant during the meeting. “That’s something I’m really proud of.”

The changes would not require all developments to install charging stations but rather to equip the building with the proper conduits and infrastructure for potential future chargers.

READ ALSO: Victoria residents kick-off 2020 with speedy trip across Canada in a Tesla

Coun. Judy Brownoff told Black Press Media on Thursday that retroactively fitting a building or home with the necessary power outlet for an electric vehicle charger is far more expensive than making sure each building had charging capabilities during initial construction.

Mayor Fred Haynes referred to the new EV requirements as a “future-proofing” measure to ensure Saanich’s housing stock is ready to meet the demand of electric vehicle owners.

READ ALSO: Vandals sever cables at Vancouver Island EV charging station

Councillors waived a public hearing for the zoning bylaw amendment in accordance with the Local Government Act as the change was deemed consistent with the Official Community Plan. The District will still provide notice of the amendment and residents will be invited to write in with any comments before final reading.

At the end of June, Saanich received a $100,000 grant from the Natural Resources Canada Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program to assist with installing 20 new chargers through the municipality – including several in parks, Haynes said.

He added that the District has also applied for a separate grant of approximately $85,000 to install 24 additional EV chargers at the Saanich Public Works Yard, the police department, Fire Station No. 1 and other municipal properties.


@devonscarlett
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devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

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