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Mayor calls for ban on gas-powered leaf blowers in Saanich

Council will consider motion calling for staged approach to a ban May 31
Teale Phelps Bondaroff presented a petition signed by over 540 Greater Victoria residents opposed to gas-powered leaf blowers. (Black Press Media file photo)

Saanich could soon see a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers as council is set to consider having the gardening tools phased out.

Since August 2019, resident Teale Phelps Bondaroff, has been campaigning for the district to ban gas-powered leaf blowers, establish a program to recycle the old machines as residents make the swap to electric models and amend the noise bylaw to regulate the use of loud gardening tools.

READ ALSO: Saanich resident renews petition to ban gas leaf blowers, update noise bylaw

During a council meeting on May 17, Phelps Bondaroff presented a petition signed by more than 540 Greater Victoria residents supporting his call for action. In response, Mayor Fred Haynes introduced a notice of motion asking council to direct staff to prepare a report for a staged approach to such a ban. That motion comes to council May 31, and if approved would be considered at the next strategic plan check-in come September.

Teale Phelps Bondaroff in Rutledge Park on Oct. 29, 2020. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Urban noise is not inevitable and municipalities can minimize noise pollution through conscious design and strengthened bylaws, Phelps Bondaroff said in a written statement. “It’s time for Saanich to take noise pollution seriously. Banning gas-powered leaf blowers is a step in the right direction.”

He said studies have shown noise pollution is not only an irritant, but can interfere with sleep and cognitive function, and exacerbate other health conditions. The standard gas-powered leaf blower creates noise as high as 115 decibels, he said. According to HealthLink BC, sounds over 85 decibels are harmful.

Gas-powered leaf blowers are also a source of air pollution, Phelps Bondaroff said. “Saanich has declared a climate emergency, and it is important that we accelerate our efforts to transition away from fossil fuels.”

On his own property, Haynes uses an electric leaf blower and lawnmower. He hopes to see the district’s gas-powered leaf blowers phased out for electric models as they expire.

Residents can share thoughts on the subject by emailing or registering to speak at the May 31 meeting by calling 250-475-5501.

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