THE WEEK — April 18: Victoria charges up Earth Week

City parkades housing eight new electric vehicle charging stations, sea levels now on the rise and workshopping death...

Electric car charging stations, like this one outside the Empress Hotel, will now be a reality for city parkades.

City charges up Earth Week

In mind of all the Earth Week excitement, the City of Victoria made its own impressive contribution just weeks ago with city parkades now housing eight new electric vehicle charging stations.

Charging stations have popped up all around B.C. this spring, and a quick search at PlugShare.com reveals the Island is no exception. A few dozen stations dot the CRD, along with a handful of the increasingly popular home charging stations. In Victoria, the Centennial Square, Johnson Street and Bastion Square parkades now offer one charging station each. Two stations have also been installed at the View Street parkade and three at the Broughton Street parkade.

Don’t expect a quick fuel up, yet, though — the charging stations will take three to eight hours to fully recharge an electric car battery. And with approximately 45 electric cars residing in the CRD and 77 on the Island, according to ICBC, the stations could get competitive, though the city has installed two additional charging stations at the Public Works Yard for use by city vehicles. Normal parking charges will still apply at the new parkade stations, but there is no additional fee to use the charger. The city’s “First Hour Free” coupon will also permit a free hour of charge to your vehicle.

This spark is all thanks to the province’s $2.74 million Community Charging Infrastructure Fund that will support up to 570 public charging stations across B.C. this season. The incentives cover up to 75 per cent of the capital and installation costs. Down south, companies like Portland General Electric (PGE) in Oregon are leading the way and installed the nation’s first quick-charge station in 2010 — which can take an electric vehicle from dead to nearly full in under half an hour.

Gradual as it may be, “greening” the City of Victoria’s fleet is one of four areas of the city’s “Cut the Carbon” program to reduce energy use and emissions within city operations. The city currently has electric “gators” for hauling and digging work within its parks and, this year, the city is tendering for two electric work trucks.

For resident pleasure, city’s parkades also offer charging stations for electric bikes and free covered parking for bikes powered by legs.

Sea levels now on the rise

Not that this is time to panic, but sea levels are on the rise. What environmental activists and scientists have been saying for decades is finally being heeded by the province, who last week released a new report showcasing a range of strategies for dealing with flood risks associated with the rise.

“Sea Level Rise Adaptation Primer: A Toolkit to Build Adaptive Capacity on Canada’s South Coasts” provides professionals and local authorities with information on 21 tools that local governments and authorities can use to implement an adaptation strategy. “We want to make sure the investments we make today will last well into the future — so planning needs to begin now,” says B.C. Environment Minister Terry Lake.

Before investing in that seaside beach house, residents might be keen to know sea levels in B.C. are projected to rise approximately one metre over the next century — influenced by both melting glaciers and tectonic movements. Side effects may include, but are not be limited to: high water levels in coastal areas, increased erosion and flooding, loss of property and historical sites, loss of habitat, reduced biodiversity and saltwater intrusion into coastal aquifers.

To view the protective primer yourself, visit: env.gov.bc.ca/cas/adaptation/sea_level.html.

Workshopping death— By Colin Cayer

For a world seemingly addicted to watching catastrophe and destruction play out in the news, most of us know very little about dealing with crisis.

Fortunately for those dying, bereaved and grappling with violent deaths, there are those among us who are trained to handle it — and there’s a conference coming to Victoria to help them hone their craft. On Sat., April 27, The Inn at Laurel Point and the International Working Group on Death, Dying and Bereavement will host “Hospice and Palliative Care, Grief Counselling and the Aftermath of Trauma and Disaster.” The conference is formed in a workshop style, with a variety of topics for the day-long event.

To reference an oft spoken cliché, we’re all going to die. The trouble is, our fear of death pushes it into the dark recesses of our minds. Sometimes it’s only the large, global experiences of death that force it into focus. Through the earthquake at Christchurch, New Zealand, the tsunami and nuclear reactor breakdown in Sendai, Japan and the TAM passenger airline crash in Sao Paulo, Brazil, panelists will explore the lessons we can all learn from disaster.

Other topics include deaths at school, innovative funeral practices, grieving after death and more. Spots are $200/$100 for students. To register, contact breda@dearmondmanagement.com, 250-472-7644. Learn more at: iwgddb.com. M

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