Grand Forks Hwy 3

A diagram from a Grand Forks council meeting agenda on Monday, March 27, 2023 shows a proposed Tesla supercharging station at the corner of 19th Street and Highway 3. The developers have asked city council for help in clearing red tape to make the project a reality. (City of Grand Forks via Vista Radio)

A Grand Forks property owner wants to bring a Tesla supercharging station to the city. Gene and Wayne Koch of Westfield Mortgage Corp. asked city council Monday to help with future zoning and planning changes to allow the station at the corner of 19th Street and Highway 3.

Wayne Koch says the station would bridge the mountainous 220 kilometer stretch between superchargers in Osoyoos and Castlegar. “We think it’s an idea location because it’s at the light, it’s on the main highway, and ideal for the electric vehicle user. Places with mountains eat up a lot of energy so it’s an ideal kind of landing spot for them,” Wayne Koch said.

Gene Koch says they’ve been working with Tesla on this idea for four years.  “It will become a charging hub and in my own estimation is, it will bring some considerable more amount of business to the community as well so it’s really does another thing leading us into the 21st century,” Gene Koch added. The station would have 12 stalls for electric vehicles – both Tesla and non-Tesla charging – and a future consideration for a commercial building on the site.

The city has to amend its Official Community Plan because the land use and zoning doesn’t fit the proposal right now. Council supported the project in principle.  As part of the process, the city will first contact area property owners to inform them of the future plan considerations.

The Kochs estimate the charging station will be a local investment of $1.3 to $1.5 million.