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Green light for low-speed vehicles in Norfolk County

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A new transportation option for the road-travelling public was has been approved by Norfolk County council.

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Council has decided to join a province-wide pilot program involving “low-speed vehicles.”

Haldimand County recently approved the use of low-speed vehicles in the municipality. Haldimand has added two of them to its fleet. They will be used by bylaw enforcement staff and building inspectors and for patrolling special events within Haldimand’s urban boundaries.

The motion was tabled by Norfolk Mayor Kristal Chopp on June 15.

“It’s great,” Chopp said. “I would like to see more of them out there. It’s like a giant golf cart, in a sense.”

When the province launched the pilot program in 2017, it set out specific criteria for what qualifies as a low-speed vehicle. Golf carts and all-terrain vehicles are not legal for on-road uses under the program.

In a report to council in April, Norfolk clerk Teresa Olsen cited the characteristics that define a low-speed vehicle. These include:

  • Four wheels
  • Exclusively battery powered
  • Designed for use primarily on streets and roads
  • Maximum speed capability of 40 kilometres per hour
  • Maximum weight of 1,360 kilograms

“Low-speed vehicles are not meant to be driven on high-speed roadways and their use would be limited to roadways with minimal speed zones such as urban centres like Delhi, Port Dover, Simcoe, Waterford and so on,” Olsen said in her report.

In its news release, Haldimand County said: “The new vehicles are quiet, sustainable, exhaust-free and environmentally responsible, requiring a standard 110-volt outlet for charging and a range of 60 kilometres per charge.”

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Haldimand County acquired the vehicles with revenue accumulated in the municipality’s Vibrancy Fund. The Vibrancy Fund represents cash acquired from green-energy firms doing business in Haldimand for the purposes of community improvements.

“The county has acquired two vehicles to demonstrate environmental responsibility and to help reduce our carbon footprint,” Haldimand Mayor Ken Hewitt said.

The motion approved on June 15 makes no provision for Norfolk to acquire low-speed vehicles or to integrate them into the county fleet. Under the provincial pilot program, anyone with a valid class A, B, C, D, E, F or G driver’s licence can put a low-speed vehicle on the road.

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