Oak Bay is on board with the shift away from gas-powered leaf blowers.
Last year the district embarked on a five-year transition, shifting its public works from using small engine gas-powered landscape equipment such as lawnmowers and leaf blowers to electric versions.
Parks manager Chris Hyde-Lay told council the move is starting off well, with some successes and some challenges as nine pieces have been replaced among the arsenal of 40.
Coun. Tara Ney, who has broached the subject several times over the years, brought the issue back to council Tuesday (May 24) with a motion and a petition featuring more than 600 signatures from Oak Bay and beyond to extend the ban to residential use. The motion was to start a three-year phase-out of gas-powered garden equipment, including leaf blowers on residential properties by 2023.
Francis Landy, who started the petition, was among many who took to council to voice concern over the penetrating noise he endures every day, and several times a day, in his Oak Bay home.
“I was simply blown away by the number of people who signed. I was really surprised at how much I wasn’t alone, there was a whole community of people who hate leaf blowers,” Landy said.
Ney who characterized gas-powered leaf blowers as noisy, stinky and environmentally and physical harmful pieces of equipment – said the timeline allows residents an opportunity to plan for the transition and the district to implement policy and educate the public.
Ney found support around the table, though Coun. Hazel Braithwaite made one small, unsupported bid to add a year to the phase-in.
“If you establish a standard and timeline for that standard to be met it can assist in driving technology and the availability of new technology and I think this is an opportunity to do that,” said Coun. Andrew Appleton.
Staff will come back with a report for council to consider options such as financial implications, regulatory framework and public education required.
The ban would not affect private ventures such as golf courses.
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