Renewable Energy Pioneer Proposes Green Tourism Vision

John Stonier is a Vancouver-based chartered account and businessman with an exciting business plan for Salt Spring Island.

“Free electric car charging stations are the new “wi-fi” opportunities of the decade” he declared at the Salt Spring and Gulf Islands Renewable Energy Conference this last Saturday. Stonier was part of the closing plenary panel session at the Conference, an event that attracted about 165 participants and 35 organizers and volunteers.

In a stellar line-up of innovators and leaders in community climate action, Stonier joined Islands Trust Director Sheila Malcolmson, local renewable energy activist, Kjell Liem, and Vancouver based solar power innovator, Eric Smiley, to cap off what was called by many Conference attendees: “the best community conference ever.”

Organized by the Transition Salt Spring education committee, the Conference provided 12 different workshops to help citizens move in small steps away from fossil fuels and toward the independence and low carbon footprint of renewable energies. Sessions on solar hot water and solar photovoltaics were completely filled, while sessions on electric cars and the future of transportation were close behind in attendance.

In fact, electric cars are John Stonier’s passion. Long before purchasing his current favourite Nissan Leaf, John was widely known as the man behind an electric conversion of a 1999 Porshe Boxster. A former director of the Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association, John now makes his living with strategic consulting on leading edge technologies for advancing businesses.
In his Conference speech, John outlined what he called was a “certain way to put Salt Spring and the other Gulf Islands on the map as a preferred vacation destination for an important and rapidly growing sector of tourists”.

And he meant ‘on the map’ literally as he spoke about the 1000+ electric car owners in BC and 90,000+ electric vehicle owners in the three US States directly south of us. “These are conscientious people with a love of natural places and $250 in their pockets each month they save by driving an EV (electric vehicle) rather than a gas guzzler. The most important factor for EV owners in choosing where to stay at night is where they can get a vehicle charge while they sleep”.

A mapping system for EV charging facilities is rapidly expanding on the internet, and Stonier predicts the number of EVs is growing almost exponentially. “Creating a Gulf Island EV friendly brand will be the most effective marketing initiative ever undertaken here,” said Stonier. “Every B and B owner in the Gulf Islands would be foolish to miss this opportunity to tap an attractive market with minimal expenses for installing a low cost charging system”

The Salt Spring Community Energy Group, key organizers for the GISS Solar Scholarship Project and the Renewable Energy Conference, will be bringing John Stonier back to Salt Spring sometime in the next two months to talk about “Salt Spring For EV Travelers”. If you wish to be involved in the coming information sessions, contact David Denning at 250-537-0664.

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By David Denning

I am a film-maker, photographer, naturalist, and science educator who has lived on Salt Spring Island for 17 years. My hobbies include kayaking, mountaineering, gardening and other forms of goofing around. My partner, Deborah Miller, and I are active with the Salt Spring Island Conservancy.

April 10, 2014 7:56 AM