Suburban electric vehicle charging sites named

Suburban electric vehicle charging sites named

Wellington City Council has reduced the number of electric vehicle charging stations in residential streets from 19 to 15.

This follows concerns that owners of electric vehicles would use the stations as personal car parks,

A proposal to build 15 charging stations in residential locations  passed at today’s city strategy committee meeting will be presented to the full council for approval.

The initial proposal for 19 electric vehicle charging points was deferred in December 2018, after concerns from residents that they would privilege the small number of electric vehicle drivers and disadvantage others.

The proposed locations are Rodney St, Northland; Holloway Rd and Epuni St, Aro Valley; Miramar North Rd, Miramar; Hornsey Rd, Melrose; Jackson St and Melbourne Rd, Island Bay; Hall St, Manchester St and two sites on Coromandel St, Newtown; Wright St, Mt Cook; Karepa St, Brooklyn, Stanley St, Berhampore and Austin St, Mt Victoria.

After several opposing public submissions, it was decided at the meeting that charging stations in Boundary Road, Kelburn and Bank Road, Northland would be removed from the proposal, and one in Mersey St, Island Bay site would be stood down for further consideration.

These three sites were unanimously voted against with alternate locations to be investigated within these areas. 

Empire Cinema owner Pat Vinaccia opposed the planned Mersey St station, which would have been in front of his business, because, he said, it would further aggravate a shortage of parking.

There were no proposed time restrictions on the charging points, which Vinaccia said worried him, as this station would have occupied two of eight unrestricted car parks outside the 170-seat cinema.

He said he was concerned that users might park there all day, occupying vital parking spaces for his customers.

Councillor Diane Calvert said Vinaccia had previously contacted the council regarding this lack of parking, with no success. 

Island Bay resident, Hans Renner, was similarly unhappy with the placement of the proposed Mersey St station, saying it posed a safety risk, due to high foot traffic from the two schools in its immediate vicinity.

Boundary Rd resident, Clive Thorpe, expressed concern that he and his neighbours had not been adequately consulted about the proposed charging station on their street. 

Although that particular site had 34 positive submissions, Thorpe said he did not know the names of any of the respondents, and they did not live on Boundary Rd. 

Mount Victoria resident, Leonie Reynolds, spoke in favour of the charging station planned for her street, saying that although she did not own an electric vehicle, she would be open to purchasing one, if charging facilities were readily available to her.

She said that she was concerned about her personal carbon emissions, and whilst she required a personal vehicle, electric vehicles were the least environmentally destructive means of private transport. 

Councillors Calvert, Peter Gilberd and Andy Foster all expressed concern that affected communities had not been consulted adequately within the process of selecting sites for the chargers, as displayed by the number of opposing submissions.

Portfolio leader, Cr Chris Calvi-Freeman admitted that public engagement was “not up to what (he) would like to see,” and that it would require further work.

Cr Foster said he was particularly dubious about some of the proposed locations, as several were “in places that very few people are going to see or to use, they’re potentially going to become an exclusive car park, for, possibly, for one person.”

Cr Calvi-Freeman said it was important that these charging stations benefitted the greater public, rather than simply providing reliable, consistent parking for a select few individuals. 

“We will make sure that these spaces are not exclusive,” he said.

Cr Calvert similarly argued that some of these suburban locations were not visible enough to the public, for their use on a wider scale.

Cr Calvi-Freeman, however, remained optimistic that public response would be positive, saying that “Electric vehicles are the way of the future… At the moment this is our best guess, our best estimate of the way we can get people into a lower footprint, lower polluting means of transport.” 

He “Doesn’t believe (he) will ever own another, or buy another, internally combustible car.”

These sites will be used as a pilot to test the viability of a second batch of charging stations, planned for urban locations closer to the city centre.

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About Author Aspiring fashion journalist, exhausted postgrad student and collector of extravagant shoes. @ Vogue, please hire me.

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