New homes in Kamloops must now be electric vehicle compatible

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The council unanimously passed a by-law that requires charging infrastructure for electric vehicles in new residential developments

A new bylaw requiring new residential development to be electric vehicle compatible should make it easier for Kamloops residents to go electric in the future.

On Tuesday (September 20), council passed a rezoning bylaw that requires electric vehicle charging infrastructure in new residential developments.

City sustainability officer Glen Cheetham explained that for new single-family homes, a developer will need to run a 60-amp wire from the electrical panel. It will not be connected, but will have to go through a wall to a junction box near a parking space.

Cheetham said parking suitable for electric vehicles is important because in Kamloops, the majority of greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation. Other areas targeted in the city’s community climate action plan include buildings and waste.

Improving active transportation and vehicle electrification is part of the efforts to reduce emissions.

For single-family homes, Cheetham said, it’s usually not as difficult to install electric vehicle chargers because homeowners have full autonomy.

Where the bylaw will really promote access to electric vehicle charging is in the new multi-family development.

Cheetham said the new regulations will mean that developers will, at the time of ownership, provide an electric vehicle plan to a stratum and include important information, such as ensuring sufficient electric capacity, at the time of construction. .

“It takes us a long way from where we are today,” Cheetham said, adding that many multi-family buildings in the city currently lack the capacity to charge electric vehicles.

Cheetham said the city has heard of people in multi-family apartment buildings who have electric or hybrid vehicles and rely entirely on public charging infrastructure. He said that was inconvenient, noting that more than 70% of all those drivers were charging at home, similar to charging their cell phone.

“It’s about enabling EV adoption and removing a major barrier to EV adoption, which is access to home charging,” Cheetham told KTW.

Council’s unanimous vote to pass the bylaw followed a public hearing last summer that raised concerns in the building industry and led to a reduction in the requirement.

Meanwhile, the council also received an update on the community climate action plan this week.

Almost two-thirds of the plan’s short-term actions were implemented in the first year of implementation.

The city highlighted updates to its zoning bylaw to support a more compact community, ongoing construction of bike lanes, new electric vehicle charging requirements, as 50 homes have been built in Kamloops under the new BC Energy Step Level three code, authorization for a community-wide curbside residential organic waste collection program and a source of sustainable funding to implement the strategy.

Council recently approved a tax increase to build a reserve for climate action initiatives. The city has about $1.1 million in climate action funds set aside on reserves, $444,000 of which comes from municipal taxation. Since 2021, the city has secured nearly $6.9 million in grants to support climate action. The city said it was important to have funds set aside for matching funds for grant opportunities, which is typically required by state and federal governments.

In 2021, corporate greenhouse gas emissions resulted in an 11% decrease from the 2007 baseline.

“While this represents an 11% decrease from the 2007 baseline emissions, British Columbia’s electricity emissions intensity factor for 2021 was significantly lower than previous years, representing a large part of the decrease in emissions from businesses in the city,” a report to the council reads.

The city is striving to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030 and 80% by 2050, compared to its 2007 baseline.

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