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North Van puts money on the table for EV charging and heat pumps

North Van City council unanimously passed CleanBC Go Electric and Better Homes rebate contributions on Monday.
Electric vehicle parking
The City of North Vancouver is topping up funds for EV charging and home heat pump rebates.

City of North Vancouver council is putting up more cash to cut the carbon from local homes and commutes.

Council voted unanimously Monday to top up the funds it uses to offer rebates for residents who convert their home heating system to a heat pump or install electric vehicle charging infrastructure in multi-family buildings.

An additional $80,000, allocated from the city's environment strategy implementation project, will go towards heat pump rebates while $46,300 is being set aside for EV charging projects.

Mayor Linda Buchanan said it was "nice to see the momentum build" on the top-up programs, but not surprising given the dire need for more climate-effective solutions. 

"It's unsurprising, following our disastrous atmospheric rivers and the wipe out of major highways and road structures and heat domes in ways that we haven't seen – ever. Perhaps this is one motivator," she said.

She touched on how behavioural change is difficult – whether that be trading in the beloved family wagon for an electric alternative or swapping out a tried and tested heating system – and how people often have to see "something catastrophic" or be given a nudge to take action. 

"We have to create the environments and the conditions in which it actually moves people in the direction that we absolutely must go," she said. 

With transportation being the largest source of carbon emissions in the city, contributing 57 per cent of community-wide emissions, the implementation of electric vehicles on the North Shore serves as the next logical step for council, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent of 2007's levels by 2040 – and achieve net zero by 2050. 

Currently the CleanBC Go Electric Program, administered by BC Hydro, has rebates for multi-family buildings that include an EV Ready Plan of up to $3,000, covering 75 per cent of costs, EV Ready infrastructure rebates for up to $120,000, covering 50 per cent of costs, and EV charging stations rebates for up to $14,000, covering 50 per cent of costs.

Coun. Don Bell noted the ever-increasing cost to plug in electric vehicles at public stations, adding how at-home charging ports will give more incentive for people who still remain on the fence on making the switch.

Coun. Jessica McIlory said both the heat pumps and electric vehicles are "critical" when it comes to meeting climate change targets. 

Couns. Holly Back, Shervin Shahriari, Tony Valente and Angela Girard echoed the statements, and all passed the motion. 

The electrification of vehicle parking stalls will be carried out on a first-come, first-served basis between seven and 12 buildings throughout North Vancouver, while 18 additional heat pumps are expected to be installed.

Mina Kerr-Lazenby is the North Shore News' Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.