A groundskeeper blows autumn leaves in the Homewood Cemetery, Pittsburgh. (Cbaile19/Wikimedia Commons)

Saanich resident calling for gas powered leaf blower ban finds support as autumn leaves fall

‘Cities don’t need to be noisy and happiness and wellbeing should be a priority,’ says the resident

A blanket of dead leaves now covers the ground meaning leaf blowers are being used more frequently. It also means more residents signing Teale Phelps Bondaroff’s petition to ban gas-powered leaf blowers in the district.

Phelps Bondaroff presented council with a petition to ban leaf blowers in August citing several health concerns associated with gas powered leaf blowers.

Noise pollution from the two-stroke engines – which is bad for the environment – is the driving force behind the petition, but Phelps Bondaroff said there are many other ways the lawn-care machines can have an effect on health. Blowers also push particulate matter and dust into the air which can trigger allergies and respiratory issues.

READ ALSO: Saanich resident calls for gas leaf blower ban

The petition asks the District to ban gas-powered leaf blowers, create a program to recycle the gas-powered leaf blowers and regulate the use of electric leaf blowers so that the noise created is in compliance with the noise pollution bylaws.

Phelps Bondaroff pointed out that Saanich’s current noise suppression bylaw, written in 1993, states that continuous noise cannot go on for more than three minutes in a 15 minute period. Lawn mowers are the only exception. When he brought this up to a bylaw officer, he was told leaf blowers are included under the term lawn mower, but Phelps Bondaroff feels that the current wording isn’t clear enough to be enforceable.

Phelps Bondaroff says more than 300 people have signed the petition that he will formally present to Saanich council this winter. However, he’s also received several hateful comments from those he assumes haven’t read the petition in full. It’s just the gas powered leaf blowers that would be banned, he explained. Leaf blowers are necessary for several jobs and situations, he noted, but with the ban, people would have to turn to electric or battery powered options.

READ ALSO: POLL: Should there be a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers?

While the gas powered options can run for longer, the standard backpack model creates noise above 90 decibels and HealthLink BC emphasizes that sounds over 85 decibels are harmful. Each time the noise level goes up by five decibels, the sound is considered five times louder. This means that a leaf blower is five times louder than what is considered a safe noise level.

The WorkSafe BC Health and Safety manual for lawn maintenance employees suggests use rakes and brooms instead as they’re silent and can be “faster and more effective.”

Phelps Bondaroff hasn’t found a council member to champion the petition yet, but he’s hopeful.

Noise pollution and the associated health impacts are underappreciated, he said.

“Cities don’t need to be noisy and happiness and wellbeing should be a priority.”


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Family-run corner store in Parksville closes after 42 years

This weekend marked the last day for Shopper’s Grocery Mart on Alberni Highway

In 1976, competitive skateboarding took off in B.C.

‘California had excess skateboards and they dumped them here, in Canada’

EDITORIAL: Understanding what assessments mean

Budgets are determined by considering the amount of money a municipal government will need

T.W. Paterson: Hudson Bay Co.’s Dr. Benson marched to a different drummer

Chief Factor James Douglas soon banished him to the Columbia River

U.K. press wonders if Nanaimo bars lured Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to Canada

‘Prince Harry’s favourite snack revealed,’ trumpets tabloid

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

BC Green Party leader visits northern B.C. pipeline protest site

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada, British Columbia and First Nations

‘Extensive’ work planned at Big Bar landslide ahead of salmon, steelhead migration

Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan visited the site of the slide from June

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Royal deal clears way for Harry, Meghan part-time Canada move: experts

Keith Roy of the Monarchist League of Canada said the deal is exactly what Harry and Meghan asked for

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Most Read