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Monday, May 20, 2024

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Burn Safe or Face a $25,000 Fine

Burn Safe or Face a $25,000 Fine

Wild fires have erupted in British Columbia and the Minister of Natural Resources says officials in...

Burn Safe or Face a $25,000 Fine

Burn Safe or Face a $25,000 Fine

Wild fires have erupted in British Columbia and the Minister of Natural Resources says officials in Nova Scotia are already concerned about the wildfire season here.
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Criminal Charges in Amherst Car Crash

Criminal Charges in Amherst Car Crash

An Amherst man is facing extremely serious criminal charges following a motor vehicle collision in...

Criminal Charges in Amherst Car Crash

Criminal Charges in Amherst Car Crash

An Amherst man is facing extremely serious criminal charges following a motor vehicle collision in Fort Lawrence that resulted in the death of three people.
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Council Orders Demolition of Pugwash Property

Council Orders Demolition of Pugwash Property

If the Municipality of Cumberland has its way, Canada Day celebrations in Pugwash will be a whole...

Council Orders Demolition of Pugwash Property

Council Orders Demolition of Pugwash Property

If the Municipality of Cumberland has its way, Canada Day celebrations in Pugwash will be a whole lot brighter and cleaner.
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All Oxford Departments Busy in Spring

All Oxford Departments Busy in Spring

Oxford Town Council met last evening in back-to-back sessions, with the regular monthly...

All Oxford Departments Busy in Spring

All Oxford Departments Busy in Spring

Oxford Town Council met last evening in back-to-back sessions, with the regular monthly Committee-of-the-Whole (COW) meeting, followed by another for the purpose of passing the 2024–2025 budget.
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Oxford Council Approves Record Budgets

Oxford Council Approves Record Budgets

Oxford Town Council gathered for two meetings last night, a regular, monthly Committee of the Whole...

Oxford Council Approves Record Budgets

Oxford Council Approves Record Budgets

Oxford Town Council gathered for two meetings last night, a regular, monthly Committee of the Whole (COW) and a special meeting to consider the 2024–2025 budget.
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Big Data Retrofits Aided by AI

Big Data Retrofits Aided by AI

A New Brunswick-based company looks to streamline building retrofits in Nova Scotia with the help of...

Big Data Retrofits Aided by AI

Big Data Retrofits Aided by AI

A New Brunswick-based company looks to streamline building retrofits in Nova Scotia with the help of artificial intelligence (AI). 
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County Taxes Rise with Assessment

County Taxes Rise with Assessment

The Municipality of Cumberland held its tax rate at the same level as last year but that does not...

County Taxes Rise with Assessment

County Taxes Rise with Assessment

The Municipality of Cumberland held its tax rate at the same level as last year but that does not mean the same tax bill.
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Resiliency Plan for Chignecto Flooding

Resiliency Plan for Chignecto Flooding

The Mayor of Amherst says discussions on the danger of massive flooding across the Isthmus of...

Resiliency Plan for Chignecto Flooding

Resiliency Plan for Chignecto Flooding

The Mayor of Amherst says discussions on the danger of massive flooding across the Isthmus of Chignecto are moving quietly but slowly, behind the scenes.
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Kogan Receives King's Coronation Medal

Kogan Receives King's Coronation Medal

The first twenty-eight King Charles III Coronation Medals were awarded today in Halifax.

Kogan Receives King's Coronation Medal

Kogan Receives King's Coronation Medal

The first twenty-eight King Charles III Coronation Medals were awarded today in Halifax.
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Oxford Crosses Fingers on Bid Proposal

Oxford Crosses Fingers on Bid Proposal

It isn’t easy paying for infrastructure improvements in a small town.

Oxford Crosses Fingers on Bid Proposal

Oxford Crosses Fingers on Bid Proposal

It isn’t easy paying for infrastructure improvements in a small town.

Top Stories

Nova Scotia’s Impressive Push to Electrification
Zack Metcalfe, Climate Story Network
/ Categories: News, Climate

Nova Scotia’s Impressive Push to Electrification

The province’s municipalities are transitioning to EVs as quickly and smoothly as a challenging market will allow.

By 2030, all 500 or so light duty vehicles owned and operated by the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) — everything from police cruisers to pickup trucks — will be electric. At least, that’s the plan.

“We’ve got six years left,” says Kevin Boutilier, Manager of Clean Energy with HRM. “We’ve also got a lot of momentum, and a lot of support in terms of funding.”

This funding comes from the Climate Action Tax, instituted in the 2022-2023 fiscal year and bringing in $18 million annually; roughly $3 million of which is earmarked for fleet electrification.

Money may not be an obstacle, but the vehicle supply chain, says Boutilier, is another story.

“We’ve found it very difficult to actually source electric vehicles,” he says. “We put tenders out and some come back with nothing.”

EVs, he says, are in such high demand and short supply that many dealerships prefer selling them piecemeal, rather than engaging in an onerous tender process. While Boutilier and colleagues are putting a lot of effort into pairing the right EVs with the right municipal departments, they’re also restrained by what’s available. 

So far, they’ve acquired 30 EVs, with an additional 30 on order, including Ford’s E-Transit Van, Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning, and Hyundai’s electric Kona and Ioniq.

Supply issues aside, Boutilier is still hopeful about meeting targets. “I’m very optimistic,” he says. “I feel like 2030 is within reach.”

And HRM is not alone in its push towards electrification. The Municipality of the District of Lunenburg also aims to electrify its light duty fleet by 2030, and has already acquired two Volvo XC40s, two Ford F-150 Lightnings and one Ford Mustang Mach-E, most of which are employed in their Building and Fire Inspection Services. Seven additional EVs have been included in their five-year capital investment plan, which should be enough to meet their 2030 target.

“We have to be innovators,” says Kacy DeLong, council member for District 8. “At this stage in the climate crisis, if we’re not part of the solution, we’re not doing our jobs.”

The Municipality of Colchester has committed to an entirely electric light-duty fleet by 2035, a fleet which is, at present, composed exclusively of half-ton and three-quarter-ton trucks — 21 in total. Like their neighbours in HRM, they’ve found the market difficult to navigate. EVs can take months and sometimes years to order in; delays which have proven prohibitive every time a truck’s needed replacing.

“That’s been a bit of a barrier,” said Joanna Burris, Colchester’s Sustainability Planner. She hopes to overcome the issue with an EV purchasing policy, empowering the municipality to order replacement EVs far in advance of an expected replacement. That way the new EV will be present and accounted for when an existing Dodge Ram 1500 or Chevy Silverado 2500 is at the end of its lifespan.

“It hasn’t worked to buy them casually,” says Burris. “We really need a policy.”

King’s County is approaching their transition more flexibly. Instead of establishing deadlines, they’ve simply committed to buying the “greenest” option available when sourcing new vehicles. In the absence of sufficient charging infrastructure across the county, that’s meant hybrids, such as the Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-90, and Ford F-150. Five such hybrids have already entered the fleet, and unlike EV equivalents, were relatively easy to source

“Once we have the charging infrastructure, we’re going to be shifting from hybrids to EVs,” says Dr. Zobia Jawed, Director of Environmental Services and Climate Resilience. A shift she expects to happen in 2025.

Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM), unlike the rest of Nova Scotia, is starting with its largest vehicles and working its way down. An influx of international students to Cape Breton University (CBU), in Sydney, has increased demand for public transit, and the municipality figured if it was buying new buses, they might as well be electric.

“We see battery electric buses as the best way to meet the current and future demand for transit in our area, while at the same time reducing our greenhouse gas emissions,” says Raymond Boudreau, Senior Manager of Public Works with the municipality.

By 2040, and with a blend of federal, provincial, and municipal dollars, they plan to have electrified their entire fleet of 23 buses, with an initial purchase of six buses planned for 2027. They haven’t yet settled on a make and model, but the estimated cost will be $800,000 to $1.1 million per bus, depending on range.

Electrification is sweeping Nova Scotia, but Halifax remains the largest player in both budget and ambition. On the same deadline as its light duty fleet, HRM has committed to electrifying heavy duty equipment like snowploughs, and in this pursuit, Kevin Boutilier is less optimistic. To his knowledge, he says, no one’s manufacturing electric snowploughs, but says he’s “keeping his eyes on the market.”

Public transit is a different story. HRM has 60 electric buses on order from the Quebec company Nova Bus, with delivery expected this fall. But on March 4th of this year, they announced a bigger project still — the construction of a new high speed ferry terminal adjacent to the chronically congested Bedford Highway (to be located at Mill Cove), which will connect Bedford to downtown Halifax via five electric ferries. It’s an initiative to cut carbon and traffic in a single stroke and is expected to come online in the 2027-2028 fiscal year.

“We might be a speck on the map,” says Boutilier, “but we have a responsibility to do everything in our power and fiscal resources to decarbonize, while making our city more resilient in the process.”

The photo above shows an EPW Ford 150 hybrid. The photo below is an EV test drive event in the municipality of Colchester. Photos courtesy of the Municipality of Colchester.

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Monday, May 20, 2024 9:45 AM

Moved to Tuesday at 9:41 due to Victoria Day. Listen to Tim Houston, Premier of Nova Scotia, on Morning Talk on the 3rd Monday of each month at 9:45. Click HERE for our online player. Click HERE for our direct player.
Monday, May 20, 2024 8:00 PM

Pickleball and Basketball played every Monday from 8 to 9 pm at the OREC gym in Oxford. Click HERE for details.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024 1:00 PM

Walk and Talk is held every Tuesday and Thursday at 1 pm at the Wentworth Recreation Centre.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024 1:00 PM

The Oxford Seniors Club (31 Ellis Street) will host a Coffee House from 1 to 3 pm every Tuesday. All Are Welcome.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024 6:00 PM

Women's Pickle Ball is played every Tuesday from 6 to 8 PM at the Wentworth Recreation Centre.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024 9:00 AM

Listen to Tory Rushton, Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables on Morning Talk each Wednesday at 9 am.
Wednesday, May 22, 2024 10:45 AM

Listen to Oxford Mayor Greg Henley on Morning Talk every Wednesday at 10:45.
Thursday, May 23, 2024 9:00 AM

Listen to Murray Scott, Mayor of Cumberland County, on Morning Talk every Thursday at 9:00.
Thursday, May 23, 2024 10:00 AM

Liberal Leader Zach Churchill, Leader of Nova Scotia's Official Opposition will be on Morning Talk on the third Thursday of every month. Listen at 10 am.

Saturday, May 25, 2024 8:00 PM

Listen to Saturday Night in a Harbour Town, traditional East Coast Music, with your host, Eric MacEwen, Saturdays at 8 pm.
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Listen to a replay of Saturday Night in a Harbour Town with host Eric MacEwen, every Sunday at 1 pm.
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