The gears are in motion on a proposal to make the high-pitched whine of gas-powered leaf blowers a thing of the past in Saanich.
A petition put together by Saanich-based community organizer Teale Phelps Bondaroff to permanently ban gas-powered leaf blowers has gained wide support.
More than 500 people signed, igniting a productive discussion among council at its May 31 meeting.
Phelps Bondaroff conducted extensive research before sending the petition to the public and found the commonly used tools contribute to excessive noise pollution, produce dangerous exhaust emissions and can have negative health and environmental impacts.
“When comparing a Ford F-150 to a two-stroke leaf blower, studies found that the leaf blower produced 299 times more hydrocarbons,” he said.
The noise the blowers create is especially detrimental to an operator’s hearing, he added. Phelps Bondaroff is determined to encourage the use of electrically powered tools that are both quieter and better for the environment.
Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes put forward a notice of motion to send the item to a strategic plan check-in come September.
Haynes also wrote a report that discusses the issue of noise caused by leaf blowers and the work Saanich is doing in moving away from gas and fossil-fuel based equipment.
“I think this is a piece of equipment that is an example of a catalyst. In looking at the leaf blowers, it’s an opportunity to look at all of our equipment – generators, power washers, etc.,” he said.
Separately, a motion came forward that council should review the current noise bylaws, which Haynes said will be a considerable undertaking, also to be discussed in September.
Saanich bylaws allow noise between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. on each day of the week except Sundays and statutory holidays.
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