Walking by a local Flo/Tesla charging station in Gananoque a little while ago, the town’s mayor, John Beddows, was struck by the fact it didn’t have accessibility features.
“There aren’t any wide parking spots, all of the chargers are behind curbs,” said Beddows.
The mayor was interested enough to do his own online searches over several days, looking for Tesla charging stations in Canada designed for access by people with mobility challenges.
“While I won’t say my search was exhaustive, I was struck by the fact that I couldn’t find a single picture of a Tesla charging station that is accessible,” said Beddows.
That didn’t sit well with the mayor, so much so that Beddows recently took to his own Facebook page to share his concerns about this topic with the community, and spoke with The Recorder and Times, as well.
“The ability to access a charging station(s) is about the ability to access what is currently important, what will soon be an essential service,” said Beddows.
“Charging stations are not parking spots, charging stations provide a service. This means that making sure persons with disabilities who require accommodation are able to use them to re-charge their electric vehicles is about equitable access to an essential service.”
According to chargehub.com, which lists information for electric vehicle charging stations provincially and nationally, there are a total of 20 charging stations in the town.
Given that Gananoque is roughly halfway between Montreal and Toronto, and that the number of electric vehicles in Gananoque will only increase as time passes, Beddows believes getting this right today is about making it right for the future.
There is currently an accessible charging station behind Town Hall.
“I’m going to bring a motion at the next meeting of council to look for the best way to make sure that all future charging stations built in Gananoque include an accessible component to make sure we are able to deliver equity of access in our town,” said Beddows.