Oak Bay is okay with the move away from gas-powered leaf blowers.
Last year, the district began a five-year transition, shifting its public works from using small gas-powered landscape equipment such as lawn mowers and leaf blowers to electric versions.
Parks manager Chris Hyde-Lay told the board the move is off to a good start, with some successes and some challenges as nine parts were replaced from the arsenal of 40.
Com. Tara Ney, who has brought up the subject many times over the years, brought the issue back to council on Tuesday May 24 with a motion and petition featuring over 600 signatures from Oak Bay and beyond to extend the ban to residential use. The motion sought to begin 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 those who addressed the council to express concern about the penetrating noise he experiences every day, and many times a day, at his Oak Bay home.
“I was simply blown away by the number of people who signed up. 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 called gas-powered leaf blowers noisy, smelly and harmful to the environment and the environment, said the schedule allows residents to plan for the transition and the district to implement policy and to educate the public.
Ney found support around the table, although Coun. Hazel Braithwaite made a small, unsupported offer to add a year to the gradual introduction.
“If you set a standard and a timeline for that standard to be met, that can help drive technology and the availability of new technology and I think that’s an opportunity to do that,” Coun said. Andrew Appleton.
Staff will return with a report for the board to consider options such as financial implications, regulatory framework and public education required.
The ban would not affect private businesses such as golf courses.
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