Rats, mice and higher strata fees: A critic's warning about proposed leaf-blower ban in Vancouver
The owner of a landscaping company says motions by two Vancouver city councillors proposing to ban two-stroke gasoline engines – such as leaf blowers and hedge trimmers – are premature and potentially costly.
If councillors go through with either of the proposals, which have not yet been debated at a council meeting, it would mean landscapers would have to move to electric equipment to do business in Vancouver.
“We’re just not there yet,” said Kyler Reid, owner of Lawn Care Plus.
He told CTV News Vancouver electric devices don’t last very long – about 30 minutes on one charge – and would need frequent battery changes. They are also expensive.
“The staff that we would have to hire to make up the difference for electric as opposed to gas-powered equipment would be a huge cost to us and then, in turn, a huge cost to our customers,” Reid argued.
The two separate motions, by councillors Adriane Carr and Sarah Kirby-Yung, are expected to be presented to council next week. The details of the motions vary, but both point to noise pollution and negative impacts on the environment as reasons for the proposed ban.
Reid agrees the machines are noisy, but said until a better alternative is available, banning gasoline engines would be a mistake. He argued the extra costs passed onto clients by landscaping companies would cause strata fees to skyrocket.
“If the budgets are going to double, strata councils are going to try to go cheap, and when it goes cheap, property maintenance is going to go way down,” he said. “And when the property maintenance goes way down, the sanitization goes way down. And you start to get rats and mice and rodents.”
Both motions call for a gradual ban, implemented a few years from now, to allow time for staff to study the ideas, and for advancements in electric landscaping equipment.