My Blog

I am rarely blogging at the moment. I will start again when something interesting crops up. Previously, I wrote about current major political issues in Richmond BC, my community, that interested me.

For entries more than a year old, the blog archive is here.

November 15, 2023. BC Government support for electric vehicle charging.

A document from John Roston on EV charging discussed with Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation Josie Osborne and Richmond-Steveston MLA Kelly Greene.

Meeting with Minister

Objective 1: Increase EV charging in existing multi-family buildings (MURBs).


a. Provide a simple document for strata councils that gives five examples of different size projects and what they cost. They need a ballpark estimate before considering preparation of a plan.

b. Increase the 75% subsidy for developing the EV Ready Plan by increasing the cap on total cost from $3,000 to $5,000.

c. Create two separate funds for the EV Ready Plan subsidy with a larger allocation to the fund for municipalities that cover the other 25% of the cost. Accompanied by a sales pitch for developing a plan at no cost even if the strata does not implement it. They are more likely to decide to implement it once they have a plan.

d. Provide more standard documentation for developing an EV Ready Plan. Sample diagrams. Fill in the blanks. Reduce the time and cost of producing a plan.

e. Subsidize the installation of electrical wiring and outlets but not the installation of charging units (EVSEs) not currently required. They are likely to be obsolete before they are used.

Objective 2: Encourage installation of level 3 public charging rather than level 2.


Public station installation subsidies should be directed to fast level 3 charging which lets more consumers charge at each public station. Emphasis should be on working with existing gas stations that provide restrooms and food.

Meeting with Minister

Objective 3: Encourage EV owners charging at home from 11 pm to 7 am.


a. Implement regulation requiring EV dealers to set the charging timer to after 11 pm before delivering vehicle to owner.

b. Stop penalizing EV owners (who pay for charging at the Step 2 rate) by implementing Step 1 rate if electrical consumption takes place from 11 pm to 7 am. Keep existing Step 2 consumption threshold but only for consumption from 7 am to 11 pm.

c. Abandon BC Hydro proposed rate change which continues to penalize EV owners who pay for charging at the Step 2 rate (+4.33 cents/kWh). Further, it increases the rate (+5 cents/kWh) for consumption from 4 pm to 9 pm which discourages EV owners from switching from natural gas to heat pumps and electricity for hot water and cooking.

Objective 4: Develop time shift plan for EV owners using bi-directional charging and switching from natural gas to heat pumps and electricity for hot water and cooking.


a. Prepare for implementation in 2025 of bi-directional EV charging which allows for switching to power from the EV battery to meet household electrical demand. Enables major reductions in peak load on the electrical grid from 4 pm to 9 pm. Also provides emergency backup power.

b. Use EV battery to supply whole house consumption from 4 pm to 9 pm. Switch back to grid supply at 9 pm. Charge vehicle from 11 pm to 7 am.

c. Implement 50% subsidy for installation of a bi-directional charging unit and a whole house power transfer switch to a combined total cost of $5,000. Although the total cost is currently at least $8,000, this is for more complex systems than required. The cost of simpler systems will come down by 2025.

June 3, 2023. Steveston Highway bike lane questions remain unanswered.

Letter published in Richmond News.

A reader isn't happy with city staff or the Richmond News' coverage of the proposed MUP on Steveston Highway.

Dear Editor,

Re: "5-4 vote quashes Steveston multi-use pathway", May 24.

Your article repeats uncritically what in my opinion is a misleading view of the Steveston Hwy project prepared by City staff. One question is whether the air pollution from vehicles on Steveston Hwy is much worse than it is on the Williams Road alternate route. World recognized experts at UBC on the adverse health effects from vehicle emissions looked at the Steveston Hwy. proposal and said it should be moved to Williams Rd. They debunked the notion that the air pollution is about the same on both routes. The staff assertion that only emissions from diesel trucks matter ignores the fact that the emissions from the 43,400 cars per day that pass by the Steveston Highway and Gilbert intersection are equivalent to 2,284 diesel trucks.

The article neglects to mention that building the MUP requires narrowing the vehicle lanes on Steveston Hwy with the assertion by City staff that this will slow down traffic. As anyone who drives Steveston Hwy can tell you, narrowing the lanes is a nightmare scenario.

The online article also presented a pretty image of the MUP prepared by City staff showing a wide divider with trees between the MUP and the roadway. The actual width is 1m. The UBC experts and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency specify that outdoor physical activity should be kept at least 100m from an undivided four-lane highway like Steveston Hwy. City staff like to quote Metro Vancouver reports, but neglect to mention that those same reports recommend keeping pedestrian and bicycle paths away from busy roads.

The article neglects to mention that building the MUP requires destruction of 25 trees and kilometers of large hedges and improvements along Steveston Hwy while a protected bi-directional bike lane on the existing Williams roadway affects zero trees. It requires repainting the roadway markings, adding concrete bollards and narrowing the centre turning lane to create space for the bollards, all of which costs a lot less than $11 million.

The City of Vancouver design guidelines for AAA cycling routes (All Ages and Abilities) requires that they have low motor vehicle volume, low vehicle speed and separation of bicycles from pedestrians. None of these are true for the proposed Steveston Hwy MUP.

John Roston

For entries more than a year old, the blog archive is here.

2022 Municipal Election

Richmond News, July 11, 2022,
by Maria Ratanen.

Rental housing advocate and FarmWatch member John Roston will challenge long-time Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie in the October municipal election. The Steveston resident has been named as the RITE Richmond mayoral candidate.

Roston ran in the May 2021 by-election to replace Kelly Greene, who was elected as an NDP MLA in the previous fall’s provincial election. Roston placed eighth in the by-election, won by retired VPD superintendent Andy Hobbs.

Joining Roston on the RITE slate are current councillors Carol Day and Michael Wolfe as well as farming advocate Laura Gillanders – who ran for the Green Party in the last federal election – and Jerome Dickey, a local businessman and entrepreneur.

The municipal elections are set for Oct. 15 when a mayor, eight councillors and seven school trustees will be elected.

Richmond News, October 16, 2022,
by Valerie Leung.

“This is the start, not the end.”

Richmond’s mayoral candidate John Roston is encouraging more young people to run in elections. Roston, while not surprised by his loss against incumbent Malcolm Brodie in the 2022 Civic Election in Richmond, hopes more younger candidates will step up to the political plate in future elections.

The RITE candidate said he was told by many young voters that they appreciated him “running so they could vote for somebody they believe in.” “We have a lot of hope in the younger generations,” said Roston. “In the short run, just get them out to vote. And in the long run, they will do it themselves, they will run, and this will be much better so I think.”

Roston received 26.5 per cent of votes from Richmond voters (9,304 votes.) He also ran in the 2018 election and the 2021 by-election but lost in both.

Roston told supporters at the Richmond Curling Club, where RITE, Richmond Citizen Association and some independent candidates gathered after the polls closed, that he had never thought about running for mayor until he was approached by incumbent Carol Day, also from the RITE Slate.

“At first I thought I didn’t hear her correctly, and then I said, ‘that is crazy. It is impossible for me to beat Malcolm Brodie.’” However, Day said it, “doesn’t matter.” Citing veteran councillor Harold Steves, she noted that the most important part of running was “talking about the issues and giving people a chance to vote for someone they trust.”

Besides, added Roston, it’s fun. “If anyone of you gets a chance to run, you should run, because getting out there and talking to people about the issues is actually a lot of fun,” said Roston.