21 June 2023

Shellharbour mayor powers towards city's carbon emissions goal

| Keeli Royle
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Shellharbour Mayor Chris Homer uses new EV charging ports at the Civic Centre

Shellharbour Mayor Chris Homer uses new EV charging ports at the Civic Centre. Photo: Keeli Royle.

Shellharbour Mayor Chris Homer is powering towards the city’s net zero emissions targets by installing new infrastructure for electric vehicles and leading the push towards eco-friendly cars.

The Council has unveiled two new public charging ports at the Shellharbour Civic Centre and the Mayor was one of the first people to try them out, after switching from a hybrid car to an EV less than a week earlier.

“Part of me choosing an EV was to really force the issue here at Council as well because we didn’t have the infrastructure,” Cr Homer said. “I really wanted to crack the seal, so to speak.”

He said the transition to EV was easier than expected and the move continues to help him cut costs and emissions.

“I save on petrol costs, even servicing costs, they get serviced once every two years these things,” he said. “The EV technology is going forward right now at a rate of knots.”

READ ALSO Council lays down guidelines on EV infrastructure on Wollongong public land

The new infrastructure will help bring Shellharbour one step closer to becoming an EV-friendly city and support the local Council in meeting its ambitious plan to be carbon neutral in its operations by 2035, with an aim for the community to reach that same goal by 2050.

“We’re actually demonstrating results,” Cr Homer said. “There’s been a lot of words and that’s good, but we believe in actions as well and this is part of our actions. Tangible results that our net zero targets are coming into play.”

The mayor’s passion and motivation for seeing the facilities up and running was praised by Council staff. “Having that real high-level support really made this project quite easy to implement,” sustainability projects officer Ester Nyers said.

But the facility is not just for locals – visitors to the city can also find the charging points through the Chargefox app.

“Shellharbour’s very well positioned in terms of Sydney travellers going down to the South Coast,” Ms Nyers said. “So just stop here for an hour, stretch the legs, use the facilities, grab some lunch, do some shopping and then keep going.”

READ ALSO Community batteries to reduce energy bills for Dapto and Warrawong households

The move also seeks to encourage hesitant people within the community to make the leap towards sustainability and highlight the benefits of going green.

“Once I got in these new EVs, they’re like driving around an iPad,” Cr Homer said. “All the tech’s in there, range assistance, all the information is there, phenomenal audio, it’s all there so it’s really coming on a pace the EVs and really nothing to be afraid of anymore.”

And there’s hope the mayor’s personal experience will help ease concerns and range anxiety.

“Sometimes that’s the only barrier stopping people from making the more sustainable choice is just getting some familiarity and being able to ask questions,” Ms Nyers said.

The two new charging stations are free to use until 1 July and then will cost $0.60 per kW hour.

No booking is required but users do need their own Type 2 charging cable and will need to download the Chargefox smartphone app.

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