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LETTER: Pull the plug on gas-powered leaf blower ban

After reading the article in the May 26 Saanich News, it is obvious that environmentalist Teal Phelps Bondaroff is pursuing his personal agenda and pushing Saanich council to jump on his bandwagon.

True, small gas-powered yard tools create noise and pollution, but maybe his focus should be on the bigger picture of vehicles that are worn out spewing excessive oil-laden exhaust out the tailpipes or those vehicles (notably motorcycles) with modified deafening exhaust running around our roads and streets.

While electric yard tools may be the way of the future, it would be more appropriate to encourage consumers to move in that direction, instead of forcing residents to comply by banning small gas-powered engines, in this case, gas-powered leaf blowers. Saying that, Phelps Bondaroff fails to mention that corded electric machines are limited to distances where the voltage drop makes them unusable, and more importantly, the expense and environmental footprints of battery-powered units requiring new batteries every few years.

Lastly, there are few electric machines that match the power of gas-powered machines for many applications. Should council support Phelps Bondaroff’s pursuit, what will be next on his agenda: gas-powered hedge trimmers, gas-powered weed trimmers, gas-powered lawnmowers, gas-powered saws, gas-powered garden tillers? The list goes on and on.

While Phelps Bondaroff has managed to collect 500-plus signatures supporting his effort, this petition represents less than 0.5 per cent of the municipality’s residents. It would be unfair for Saanich council to support a bylaw based on such a small portion of the population. It would be more appropriate that Saanich council rejects Phelps Bondaroff’s petition and encourage, rather than dictate, a change to the tools residents use to maintain their properties.

M. Rugg

Saanich