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Salmon Arm realizes it might be time to park the old gold Chevy Cobalt

City council to decide whether to purchase an electric vehicle for bylaw staff

It may be too late for the recently retired Marcel Bedard, but it will likely make other bylaw staff happy.

City council is thinking about buying an electric vehicle to replace one of the seasoned vehicles now in use.

“I’m looking for council’s support to purchase an electric vehicle for bylaw staff,” said Kevin Pearson, the city’s director of development services, at council’s June 7 planning meeting. “Presently bylaw staff are still using the early 2000 model Jeep and the old Chevy Cobalt.”

Long-serving bylaw enforcement officer Marcel Bedard, who retired in April 2021, drove the Cobalt for four years and, before that, a Ford Tempo for 16 years. He was driving the Jeep when he retired. He had joked that he appeared to be the city’s “clearing house” for vehicles.

The Cobalt has tallied 176,000 kilometres and the Jeep Compass has 172,000 km under its timing belt.

The staff report estimated that more than $30,000 has been spent on fuel for both vehicles over the past 13 years, with unknown tonnes

of accompanying GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions.

“Staff are pretty excited about the idea of an e-vehicle. The technology has come a long way; they can drive a lot farther under a charge than they used to be able to,” Pearson told council.

Electric vehicles are already used by the planning and engineering departments.

Pearson said he had the pleasure of trying out Coun. Sylvia Lindgren’s e-vehicle about a month earlier and was impressed with its torque and quiet engine.

He said it would be possible to install two or three chargers in the city’s lower parkade. If council supports the idea of another e-vehicle, he said staff could write up a report on costs and plans for charge stations.

Lindgren offered ideas on rebates and charging station needs.

In a unanimous vote, council asked staff to prepare a report for the next meeting on plans and funding sources. If approved, the vehicle purchase would go to bid, one which would include local vehicle dealers.

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Martha Wickett

About the Author: Martha Wickett

came to Salmon Arm in May of 2004 to work at the Observer. I was looking for a change from the hustle and bustle of the Lower Mainland, where I had spent more than a decade working in community newspapers.
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