New EV charging station launches car share program in Blacks Harbour

(Submitted photo) Olaitan Atologun is new to Charlotte County and has utilized Eastern Charlotte Waterways’ Project : Village Car Share program to get around the area. The organization just installed its fourth and final electric vehicle charging station, this one in Blacks Harbour.

BLACKS HARBOUR – Eastern Charlotte Waterways (ECW) has a new electric vehicle charging station in Blacks Harbour.

Briana Cowie, executive director of ECW, wrote in an email that the station provides them with the charging infrastructure to launch their Project : Village Car Share program for Blacks Harbour.

“This will allow us to launch our fourth and final car in Blacks Harbour,” she wrote. “Currently, we have one on Grand Manan Island, one in St. Stephen and one in Saint Andrews. Since May 2023, we have had 307 booked trips and 30,000 (kilometres) driven on the Saint Andrews car alone.”

Cowie wrote that the need for the station was understood by the Municipality of Eastern Charlotte and the provincial government, as well as NB Power, which identified Eastern Charlotte as a gap area.

The installation of the charging station used federal and provincial funding to directly employ concrete company G.W. Foundation and electrical company T. Spear Electrical, both of St. George, wrote Cowie.

“ECW strongly believes in hiring local contractors and local people to reinvest important funding into our local economy,” she wrote. “Community is at the core of what we do.”

Cowie wrote that ECW regularly communicates with users of the car share program who have told them they rely on it to get groceries, shop for personal needs or drop off children at daycare.

Cowie said clients have used the car share program to drive their children to the local forest school at Ganong Nature Park, help a newcomer obtain their New Brunswick Class 5 license, help a single mother take their 10-month-old baby to medical appointments and another to visit family and friends in Quebec City.

“We have been chatting more and more with users about how to improve the service and are currently reassessing affordability internally with our current users,” she wrote.

Noting they have users from “all different life experiences,” Cowie said some rely on the car share program as a second vehicle.

“The purpose of the car share is independence and to empower people to be able to get to where they need to be,” she wrote.

The program serves a diverse demography, including newcomers and low-income households, Cowie wrote.

The car share program assisted various events in and around the region including the Charlotte County Fall Fair, Paddlefest, the Race by the Sea Dragon Boat Festival, and This Amazing Place Race, said Cowie.

“Using it at the fair helped to get people who couldn’t traditionally drive to the fall fair to Ganong Nature Park. Paddlefest helped with ensuring there was designated driver options, and dragon boat festival was an opportunity to ferry people back and forth for this fundraising event,” wrote Cowie.

Currently, ECW is preparing for a public engagement event on Nov. 22 at noon at the YMCA of Eastern Charlotte to discuss the car share program for Blacks Harbour. Anyone interested can check out the ECW website, www.projectvillage.ca/carshare, or call them at 506-456-6001.

jakeboudrot@advocatemediainc.com

Jake Boudrot

A graduate of St. Francis Xavier University and a resident of Arichat, Jake Boudrot is an award-winning journalist with decades of experience as a freelancer, reporter and editor representing media outlets across the Maritimes.