Port Coquitlam is pressing Tesla on charges.
Council voted 6-1 on Tuesday to advance a proposed Tesla repair shop/import facility on Nicola Avenue. However, both Mayor Brad West and Coun. Steve Darling expressed concern that Tesla was resistant to the prospect of including a charging station.
“It just seems like it’s a no-brainer,” Darling said, emphasizing the need for a charging station.
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The city’s zoning would allow for an electric charging station but, thus far, Tesla is opposed to the idea, explained the city’s director of development Bruce Irvine.
“The prospective tenant . . . has expressed strong resistance in writing to us, to the idea of an electric charging station,” Irvine told council.
The response is “a bit disappointing,” Darling said.
“I would strongly recommend that they reconsider that,” Darling said, adding that it would be a good way to introduce themselves to the community.
“I’m not suggesting that they do it for free,” Darling added. “They’ve got an abundance of property in that area – I think it’s 650 parking spaces in total. There can’t be four parking spaces where people can charge their Teslas?”
West joined Darling in referring to the charging station as a “no brainer.”
“I would really urge the applicant to take a second look at the availability of public EV charging stations,” West said. “I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want to have that infrastructure in place which is only going to support your business, and the business you’re seeking to operate from the site.”
The only other point of contention centred on the rezoning what has historically been agricultural land.
“I do believe that agricultural land is precious, even if it’s small,” said Coun. Nancy McCurrach, who cast the lone vote against the project.
The approximately 7.5-acre site isn’t in the agricultural land reserve, West said.
“There is no agricultural activity on this site at all,” he said. “[The property] has not been an agricultural site for decades and decades and has no prospect of being an agricultural site.”
The public hearing is scheduled for Sept. 12.
If Bosa’s proposal is approved, the vacant parcels at 1021 and 1032 Nicola Ave. would become home to an approximately 60,000 square foot auto shop that would serve as the primary repair location for Teslas in the Lower Mainland as well as a terminal destination for imports from the United States and China, according to Bosa development manager Jordan Grubner.
“While some vehicles will be distributed among existing Tesla dealerships, the majority of new vehicles (75 percent or more) will be routed through this flagship delivery centre,” according to Grubner.
Workers at the facility will likely deliver about 40 cars a day and repair about 50 vehicles, Grubner stated. The facility will also dispatch mobile mechanics, Grubner explained.
“Nearly 50 percent of service operations will be conducted directly at customers’ homes through a mobile service,” he wrote in a letter to the city.
Assuming a 40-hour week, technicians at the centre will likely take home between $72,000 and $87,000 annuals, while managerial staff will make between $100,000 and $140,000 per year.
In total, the facility should bring about 80 jobs to the city, according to a staff report.
Intersections in the neighbourhood generally operate at “acceptable levels of service,” according to a report prepared by CTS Traffic Engineering Specialists and submitted by Bosa.
The development is estimated to generate about 245 car trips during morning rush hour, 678 car trips during afternoon rush hour, and 800 trips during peak hours on Saturday.
The project will likely lead to a 3.8 percent increase in terms of vehicles on the road during weekday morning rush hour and 8.8 percent during afternoon rush hour.
The centre is slated to include 686 parking spots, with 36 stalls on the north parcel and 650 parking spots on the south side.