Robin Levinson King
Ontario is offering citizens big rebates to upgrade to an electric car — but for the thousands of people in Toronto without a garage, it’s not money that’s stopping them from reducing carbon emissions — it’s parking.
After buying a shiny new Chevy Volt in April 2016, Todd Anderson was ready to start saving on gas and the environment with the help of a $12,500 provincial rebate.
“I wanted to do something about climate change,” said Anderson, who’s been in the renewable energy business for more than a decade.
“I see how it makes jobs for people in Ontario as well.”
But without a garage or driveway, Anderson says he’s stuck trying to charge his car on the street, and city bylaws and red tape don’t make it easy.
To charge his car, Anderson must run an extension cord from the charging station he installed on the lawn of his Riverdale home to a public spot kitty-corner from his house. If the space is full, he has to park in the no-parking zone in front of his house. So far, he said he’s been fined about $300, and he’s worried the cord is a tripping hazard.
All these hassles get in the way of more people buying electric vehicles, he said.
“I don’t think someone who drives a gas car would put up with not being able to use a gas station on a daily basis,” he said.
Anderson asked his ward councillor, Paula Fletcher, to help him get approval to park in front of his house at night and to run the charging cord underneath the city-owned sidewalk, an installation he says he is happy to pay for himself.
But Fletcher says that while she’s “all about electric vehicles” and understands his frustration, there’s little she can do in the short term, as both requests would require bylaws to be rewritten.
“I don’t think the city’s moving fast enough,” she said. “We should be anticipating these new developments for the environment and thinking about how to accommodate them.”