Pictured at the announcement on Dec. 10 in Antigonish are Central Nova MP Sean Fraser and Antigonish Mayor Laurie Boucher.

ANTIGONISH: The Town of Antigonish has taken one step closer to becoming net-zero.

A release from Natural Resources Canada on Dec. 10, announced 12 new level-2 electric vehicle (EV) chargers will be installed in the Town of Antigonish to provide residents with more options to charge their vehicles.

Natural Resources Canada provided $495,000 in funding to Saint John Energy to build 99 EV fast-chargers across the Maritimes to encourage increased adoption of zero-emission vehicles.

Central Nova MP Sean Fraser said $60,000 has been provided to Antigonish to invest in infrastructure that will encourage the use of electric vehicles in communities across Canada.

“Antigonish applied as part of a consortium of communities across the Maritimes to access federal funding made available specifically for electric vehicle charging stations,” Fraser told The Reporter. “What you’re seeing is there’s a need to expand this infrastructure everywhere with the increase in the adoption of electric vehicles.”

The Town of Antigonish is also contributing $47,955 to the project.

Laurie Boucher, the town’s mayor, said their Municipal Planning Strategy reaffirmed their commitment to take significant steps to become a more sustainable and environmentally responsible community.

“With the support from Natural Resources Canada, we move closer to our goal of further reducing our carbon footprint in Antigonish,” Boucher said. “This partnership has allowed Mahone Bay, Berwick, and Antigonish to pursue this project together to benefit our residents and the investment will make the option for electric vehicles more accessible in each of our communities.”

The 12 new charging stations coming to Antigonish will be the newest free-to-the-public stations made available for electric vehicles.

The free, town-owned chargers will be installed at six locations throughout the town and each location will feature two charging stations at Chisholm Park, the People’s Place Library, Dr. J.H. Gillis Regional High School, Antigonish Education Centre, the Sydney Street parking lot, and at Club 60.

“My understanding of their site selection was really based on places where people were going to where they might have to park their car for a period of time,” Fraser said. “To allow them to get a charge before they go home, or somewhere else in the community.”

Creating an environment where it is easier to buy an electric vehicle requires infrastructure, the MP said.

“There are people who drive hybrid, or electric vehicles now, who largely charge them at their home,” Fraser said. “But this will enable more and more people who want to visit Antigonish, or who live there now and want to purchase an electric vehicle. These investments are going to make those choices that much easier.”

Fraser believes building the infrastructure will create a greater demand in the marketplace.

“We need to create that ecosystem in Nova Scotia if we want Nova Scotians to benefit from the many advantages of transitioning to an electric vehicle,” Fraser said. “When we make investments in the green economy, you make places like Antigonish a more vibrant and dynamic community to live in.”

Federal funding for this project is provided through Natural Resources Canada’s Zero-Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVIP), which is supporting the government’s target to have all new passenger vehicles sold in Canada be zero-emission by 2040.

“It’s not just the right thing to do,” Fraser added. “It’s the smart thing to do.”