Environment committee seeks council”™s support for projects

The environmental and sustainability committee has asked for council’s support for two projects in the town.

Jay Mowatt and Heidi Matthews appeared at the Sept. 13 Erin council meeting to discuss electric vehicle charging stations and LED street lights.

“We have over 30 research projects on the go currently right now and there are two files we wanted to bring your attention to today that we have researched an discussed and come to a conclusion,” explained co-chair Mowatt.

“Part of our role and responsibility is to advise council on environment and sustainability issues and that’s what we’re here today to do.”

Charging stations

The committee is asking council to apply for the second round of provincial funding for electric vehicle charging stations.

Matthews explained Erin is in the range of a current electric vehicles from the Toronto area.

“If we would like Erin to be a destination, and I know our economic development officer has been working on that quite a bit, we might want to include considering an electric vehicle charging station,” she said.

The first round of funding covered the capital costs and the installation. Multiple locations in Wellington County were chosen for both level two chargers, which charge in a couple of hours, and level three charges, which take 20 to 30 minutes.

Councillor John Brennan said the stations are “a no-brainer.

“If you want people to come here, that’s the way of the future,” he said. “Maybe someday, they will be as plentiful as gas stations are now.”

Councillor Rob Smith added the new Hillsburgh library would be a good spot for a charger, as would the municipal lot in McMillan Park.

LED lights

Matthews also asked council to move forward with a LED street lighting program to replace the current bulbs with more energy-efficient ones.

“This is nothing new, many municipalities across Ontario have started or have already done LED street lighting,” she said.

“They are more expensive to install but over the long run they are huge costs savings.”

Brennan suggested the town staggers the project in over a number of years.

Councillor Matt Sammut said council has discussed the issue in the past.

“I think we are already on this mission, maybe as a secondary project. But it’s not something that was ignored,” Sammut said, adding council is “absolutely behind it.”

Mayor Allan Alls thanked committee members for their presentation.

“Don’t feel at any time that we are ignoring you,” he said. “It’s obvious that we need you to bring these ideas here, but it’s this group’s responsibility to take our minimal budget and [decide what to] deal with first …  you have to understand that.”

Council accepted the presentation as information and asked staff to bring a report back on the two issues.