Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) personnel were on hand at the Buckley Bay rest stop Wednesday, repairing damage done to the five electric vehicle charging stations at the stop. Someone had severed the cable ends to all five charging stations, rendering them all inoperable.
While repairs began Wednesday, MOTI told The Comox Valley Record it could be a number of weeks before the rest stop is fully operational.
“Some machines were repaired as we had the replacement cables available; however, a couple of cables are on order. We expect them to arrive in two to four weeks,” a MOTI spokesperson said, in response to an email from Black Press.
Comox Valley Regional District Area A director Daniel Arbour was onsite Wednesday to check out the damage. He said the crime is rather senseless.
“The cost of what’s been stolen is not that high, so it’s a question of whether it’s just basic vandalism, or theft,” he said. “The technician told me that even if they took the entire length of cable, we’re only talking about maybe $30 worth of [copper].”
While the value of the copper is marginal, the cost to repair the damages is significant.
MOTI estimates the total cost of repairs will fall somewhere in the $8,000-$10,000 range.
Although MOTI is calling this an isolated incident, Michael Stanyer, program co-ordinator at Plug In BC, said that there have been other instances of plug-ins being vandalized. Stanyer said usually it’s the entire length of the cable cut, possibly for the copper.
“Either way, it’s frustrating… and other charging stations, the same thing has happened,” said Arbour. “So it’s a little bit disheartening. If it’s theft, it’s a big risk to take. And if it’s just vandalism it’s sad to think some people would have an issue with the whole climate change agenda and do something like that to voice their frustrations… it’s not the way to make your views known and it’s really sad for those of us who work really hard to try and build the right infrastructure for electric vehicles.”
There are security cameras in the area, but the criminal(s) cut the power supply before vandalizing the property, so the surveillance cameras were also rendered inoperable.
“The ministry will be adding vandal-proof power boxes and a separate power source for the surveillance camera,” said MOTI in the email response.
MOTI said RCMP have been notified of the incident and “are watching the area closely.”
The Record has reached out to the RCMP for a response.