A city program would help staff and councillors buy a bike interest-free over two years. File photo

Rossland mulls electric bike program

City staff, councillors could buy a bike interest-free with help from the city

City of Rossland staff may soon be zipping around town in a lot greener fashion.

The city is considering buying another electric bike for staff, and creating financial incentives for staff and councillors to buy their own electric bikes.

That’s the thrust of a motion that was to go before council on Wednesday, pitching two programs concerning e-bikes.

“Electric bikes (e‐bikes) are another emerging transportation phenomenon that are gaining popularity worldwide,” says a summary of the situation by Stacey Lightbourne, the city planner.

“Similar to electric vehicles, e‐bikes can help communities achieve their [greenhouse gas] emission reduction targets. Further, e‐bikes have the potential to substitute for, or completely replace, most trips taken by a gasoline powered car.”

One program would see the city purchase an e-bike for about $4,000 for use by any city staff on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“Operations has already purchased an electric bicycle for the water treatment plant for travel to and from the plant, and for inspecting water infrastructure,” the report notes.

The report says the money for the city-owned bike would come from the climate action reserve fund. That fund has $127,000 in it, making the $4,000 for the bike quite affordable.

The second program would see city councillors or staff able to purchase a bike of their own with a $4,000 interest-free loan from the city.

The staff member or councillor would pay the city back with deductions from their pay over two years. While the loan would be interest-free, the city would issue a taxable benefit receipt that the rider would have to include on their income tax return.

The report says the benefits of the city owning and encouraging e-bike use are manifest: it provides for emission-free transportation around town, and promotes a healthier lifestyle for staff.

E-bikes align both with the city’s Official Community Plan, which supports transportation initiatives that increase fuel efficiency, and the city’s greenhouse gas reduction plan.

The OCP calls for Rossland to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to a level 33 per cent below its 2007 emission levels by 2020. It also calls for the city to work towards greening its fleet of vehicles overall.

The staff proposal to council was to be made at the council meeting on Wednesday, after the News’ deadline.

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