Kelowna’s biggest grocery store is officially set to be accompanied by one of the region’s largest gas bars.
But some city councillors were less than enthused to learn the 24-pump gas station that covers 9,000 square feet won’t include any electric vehicle charging stations.
On Monday, April 26, city council gave final approval and issued a development permit to Costco’s new Kelowna 167,000-square-foot warehouse and its abutting gas bar.
City staff said the gas bar will allow 24 vehicles to pump gas simultaneously, with space for three or four vehicles to queue behind each of the six service aisles. Costco did not include plans for electric vehicle charging stations at the gas bar or the warehouse parking lot, much to the chagrin of Coun. Luke Stack.
“We’ve been looking so much at trying to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, but here’s this 24-pump mega station going right in the middle of our town centre. I’m disappointed they haven’t come forward with some sort of electric vehicle option, knowing that’s the direction we’re going,” said Stack, whose sentiment was echoed by Coun. Loyal Wooldridge.
City manager Doug Gilchrest said the city doesn’t yet have the ability to mandate charging stations at developments, though that may change as the city’s electric vehicle strategy develops.
“It may well be that this moves from encouragement to something that’s required under a bylaw,” said Gilchrest.
Wooldridge and Coun. Charlie Hodge were the lone dissenting votes in council’s 7-2 approval of the project. Despite Stack’s pointed comments towards Costco for the exclusion of charging stations, he voted to grant the project a development permit.
Costco’s new location is set to open sometime this year, situated along Baron, Leckie and Springfield roads behind the Real Canadian Superstore. The gas bar is set to be built along Baron Road, across Durnin Road from the main parking lot.
Costco gas bars are known to sell gas slightly cheaper than competitors. In Kamloops, GasBuddy showed Costco customers could fuel up for 134.9 cents per litre on April 26, while most other gas stations in the city were charging 139.9 cents per litre.
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