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Changes to strata rules will encourage EV purchases, province says

An electric vehicle is plugged in at the University of Victoria campus in October 2019. (PICS) An electric vehicle is plugged in at the University of Victoria campus in October 2019. (PICS)

The province has introduced changes meant to make it easier for people living in B.C.'s strata buildings to install electric vehicle chargers.

In an announcement Thursday, the Minister of Housing said a lack of charging infrastructure is one thing holding people back from making the switch to an electric vehicle.

"Our government is committed to help people reduce their carbon footprints by improving access to EV charging stations in residential buildings," Ravi Kahlon wrote in a statement.

"That’s why we’ve introduced legislation to make it easier for strata corporations to greenlight charging stations."

According to the province, more than 1.5 million people in British Columbia live in strata buildings, which works out to nearly one in three residents.

The first change to the Strata Property Act will lower the threshold for approving EV chargers and their associated costs, requiring 50 per cent of members to vote in favour instead of 75 per cent. 

Stratas will also be required to approve owners' requests to install chargers on their own dime, provided "reasonable criteria are met," the government's announcement says. Strata corporations will also be required to "plan for the expansion of EV charging stations," it adds.

There were 109,000 electric vehicles on B.C.'s roads in December of 2022, according to the province, which is a sharp increase from the 5,000 reported in 2016.

"This new legislation builds on our ongoing work to get more EVs on the road, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and meet our climate goals,” said Josie Osborne, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation.

A recent decision from B.C.'s Civil Resolution Tribunal upheld a strata council's decision to reject a resident's request to install an EV charger in his parking stall.

The decision noted that the property has no chargers on it at all and that a vote in 2021 rejected a proposal to install two communal chargers in visitor stalls. In that case, 53 per cent of votes supported the plan, meaning it failed to get the required 75 per cent majority.

Citing the need for another three-quarters majority vote in order to get the installation of a single charger approved, the tribunal dismissed the resident's request to have the one installed. Top Stories

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