Francis Landy balances two equally important points of pollution as key in his push to ban gas-powered leaf blowers in Oak Bay – air and noise.
Late last year he started a petition to gather support in the community to stop residents from using the gas-powered equipment. The petition calls on Oak Bay council to phase out gas-powered leaf blowers and create a recycling or buy back program for obsolete machines.
“We have to transition away from fossil fuels. That’s going to be difficult, but we have to do it,” Landy said.
Last year, Oak Bay embarked on a five-year transition from using small engine gas-powered landscape equipment such as lawnmowers and leaf blowers to electric versions in its public works department.
Coun. Tara Ney pushed to explore banning gas-powered leaf blowers and council approved. The decision did not extend to a ban on residential or commercial use.
For Landy the situation came to a head as he works from home, as many people increasingly are, and hears them consistently more than once a day, multiple days a week across all seasons. While some colleagues use ear protection, he doesn’t.
The noise bothers him, but for some, Landy notes, it’s a sensitivity akin to other allergies, creating mental and physical stress. In turn, the intrusions cause stress-related illness.
He’s turned to Ney for guidance, and Saanich resident Teale Phelps Bondaroff, who created a similar petition in that community where more than 500 people signed.
He also points to Victoria, where council decided to look into banning the use of gas-powered leaf blowers by 2023 as part of a review of its noise bylaw.
Bylaws in Oak Bay restrict the use of machine-powered leaf blowers to Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends and holidays.
Though Landy has found connection to like-minded, interesting, well-involved people through crafting connections on the topic, he hopes more will sign the petition, which held 135 signatures as of Tuesday (Feb. 1). The petition is online at change.org/p/oak-bay-council-phase-out-gas-powered-leaf-blowers.