Kamloops council chooses bike lanes over EVs | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops council chooses bike lanes over EVs

Image Credit: FACEBOOK/City of Kamloops

Elected leaders in Kamloops say bike lanes should take priority over electric vehicles for its own fleet.

City staff gave council two options for climate-focused spending. The City can either prioritize active transportation and bike lanes, or it can focus on reducing emissions on City facilities and its fleet.

There was ample debate about how much homeowners should be charged this year as part of the City's own climate-focused tax, which now amounts to 0.35% of an annual tax bill, but they generally agreed on where it should go.

Councillor Mike O'Reilly pointed at the City's electric vehicle fleet specifically when given the choice between the two, criticizing the move.

He said the vehicles have lost value and are quickly becoming obsolete, while the technology gets cheaper on newer models.

"We've lost our shirt on those vehicles, and we're looking to continue that process," Coun. Mike O'Reilly said.

He said there are climate costs beyond the fuel savings that the City doesn't take into account, like the mining process in other countries.

"For me there's not much of a question for where the money should be spent. We should looking at spending it on active transportation, which is a community asset," he said. "Not a depreciating vehicle and a depreciating technology."

Councillor Bill Sarai also voiced support for the active transportation focus, noting that more electric vehicles put a high load on the local electricity grid. Tax money should be spent on "something that's real," he said, so residents can see where they're money is going.

The vote, which is yet to be affirmed at a later council meeting, will have staff place a smaller focus on improving greenhouse gas emissions from City facilities and its vehicles. Instead focusing on sidewalks and bike lanes with the climate action levy, a fund that currently accounts for 0.35% of tax funding, or around $440,000.

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