Campbelltown Council to look into electric car chargers, smart footpaths

Electric car charging stations.
Electric car charging stations.

Imagine if you could power the lighting in a street by simply walking on the footpath.

This concept is something one councillor would be keen to see in Campbelltown.

Campbelltown Council will investigate the feasibility of installing innovative energy-generating footpaths in the city following an idea from councillor Karen Hunt at last night's meeting.

Cr Hunt asked council staff to look into introducing the footpaths and electric car chargers to help the city move into the technological future and attract tourists.

"I do not own an electric car myself and I do not plan on owning one in the near future, but I believe they are at least the start of the future of transport," she said.

"I'm not imagining that locals would be using electric car chargers in Campbelltown, but people who are passing through.

"I believe we are placed in a geographically favourable location for electric charging stations because we're at the end of the south-west metro area before people venture further south.

"Motorists taking advantage of our car charging stations would help our economy by spending time here and seeing our venues and public places."

Cr Hunt said the electric car industry was growing "at a rapid pace" and she thought it was at least worth investigating if charging stations would be a good fit in the region.

While chargers are relatively well understood and known by society at large, energy-generating footpaths are far more obscure.

Cr Hunt said she'd come across an article about the innovative technology from Pavegen, which harnesses the energy from footsteps to generate power and can run things like lighting.

She said the technology was first trialled in Washington DC and then installed in London's Bird Street.

"We tend to think about sustainable energy in terms of the sun, wind and waves," Cr Hunt said.

"But you can also make energy from footsteps.

"I look forward to hearing back from staff if we can install electric car charging stations and energy-generating footpaths to prove that Campbelltown can be a leader in innovative sustainable technology."

Several other councillors commended Cr Hunt for her brilliant ideas and were keen to learn more about both technologies.

Councillor Ben Moroney said there were very few public charging stations available for electrical vehicle drivers between Campbelltown and Canberra and he believed local chargers could not only grow Campbelltown as a technological innovator, but also grow the electric car industry.

"I don't think electric cars are the answer to sustainability in the long term, but they will certainly bridge the gap as fossil fuel cars are phased out as they need to be," he said.

Mayor George Brticevic said he saw great benefits of charging stations in the area and he thought they would encourage visitors to spend more time in the city and explore things like the Campbelltown Arts Centre and future billabong at Bradbury.