ST. MARY’S – For reasons that remain unclear, the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s has failed to qualify for funding under a federal green program specifically designed for small communities just like it.
The municipality applied for a grant to install electric vehicle chargers through the EV Boost Program from the Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVIP)—administered by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and delivered in this province by Clean Foundation of Nova Scotia—on March 17.
But, at a council meeting earlier this month Chief Administrative Officer Marissa Jordan reported: “We heard back that we were unsuccessful in our application, which was a bit of a surprise, as [there is] quite a big gap in our area for EV chargers.”
Echoing council’s reaction, Warden Greg Wier said, “that’s a little disappointing.”
In an email to The Journal, Jordan noted that “the program funding [aims] to increase the number of electric vehicle chargers to the public in Nova Scotia. St. Mary’s application included a wall-mounted unit to be installed at the municipal parking lot in Sherbrooke and one wall-mounted unit installed at the Port Bickerton Lighthouse.”
According to the Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program website, St. Mary’s appears to meet all of the criteria for funding under the $680 million national initiative, which ends in 2027. “The objective is to address the lack of charging and refuelling stations in Canada … by increasing the availability of localized charging and hydrogen refuelling opportunities where Canadians live, work, and play.”
Specifically, the program description says it “will support electric vehicle charging infrastructure deployment on-street: On-street charging is considered charging infrastructure for public use and is managed by local governments.”
Moreover, Clean Foundation of Nova Scotia’s list of eligibility requirements for funding under the program clearly stipulates “applicants [that] are legal entities validly incorporated or registered in Canada including not-for-profit and for-profit organizations such as: electricity or gas utilities; companies; industry associations; research associations; standards organizations; indigenous and community groups; academic institutions; and provincial, territorial, regional, or municipal governments or their departments or agencies.”
Said Jordan in her email: “There will be a debrief session offered to find out more details regarding this funding decision and staff will be taking part in this session in June. The Municipality will continue to look for funding opportunities of this nature to help cover the gap for this service in our Municipality.”
According to Clean Foundation of Nova Scotia’s website, the organization is a “Nova Scotia-based, independent, non-governmental environmental charity that began in 1988 [whose] passion is providing the knowledge, tools and inspiration needed to encourage the actions that lead to positive environmental change.”
The website also notes that applications to the EV Boost program closed on March 18.
Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal