What comes first: the electric cars or the electric charging station?
That's the debate brewing on the Burin Peninsula, after the Town of Marystown purchased two electric charging stations installed at a new recreation centre in the community.
- St. John's council votes against buying 2 electric cars
- Province provides $52K for electric car charging stations
The mayor himself admits he doesn't know anyone who owns an electric vehicle in the area.
"My view has been for the last five years, if you build infrastructure first then people will come and use it," said Mayor Sam Synard.
"Without charging stations people are not going to buy electric cars, so we'll put charging stations first and see where that goes."
The two stations are a small piece in a larger $16-million environmentally-friendly recreation centre for the town, which has a population of 5,500.
The chargers cost $15,000, Synard said.
"We want to encourage people to buy electric cars," Synard said. "It's the chicken and the egg [scenario], if you build it, it might come."
Small part of larger project
Some residents have complained on the town's Facebook page about the money spent on the project, noting it could have been spent elsewhere, like on repairing roads.
"Oh my is this a joke?? Our roads are crumbling away from under us, and most of the people in this town are living in poverty and they installs electric car charging stations?? Is this for real?" read one comment.
"Electric car station. This must be a joke," read another comment.
Meanwhile, other commenters were supportive, stating that installing the charging stations will offer a boost for tourists and the project was only a small part of the main project.
'It's the chicken and the egg [scenario], if you build it, it might come.' - Marystown Mayor Sam Synard
"Creating options like this is what might drive somebody to getting a car and actually using them," read another comment.
"You don't build a giant rec center that is supposed to be around for years and don't try to follow the trends on where technology and the world is going."
Synard said he's not dismissing the concerns, but insists the addition is worth the cost.
"The numbers are really insignificant, they don't even show up on a radar screen, really — not to be flippant about $15,000 but it's not a big shot of money when you look at a $16-million budget," said Synard.
"I see this as nothing but a positive story all around for us. I think 10 years down the road, it won't be a debate for us."
The town has not officially set a date for the new recreation complex to open.