British Columbia

Landscaping in Vancouver parks should be emission-free, says commissioner

Vancouver park commissioners are scheduled to discuss phasing out gas-powered landscaping equipment for more environmentally friendly alternatives during Monday's park board meeting.

'It's an amazing amount, a frightening amount of pollutants … that it produces,' says commissioner

A Vancouver park attendant uses a gas-powered leaf blower to clear leaves in Stanley Park. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

Vancouver park commissioners will discuss phasing out gas- and oil-powered landscaping equipment in the city's parks at a meeting this Monday.

Green Party commissioner Dave Demers has put forward the motion to study replacing gas-powered leaf blowers, lawn mowers and hedge trimmers with electric alternatives.

"It's an amazing amount, a frightening amount of pollutants, not just CO2 but a bunch, a variety of pollutants that it produces," said Demers of the equipment.

In 2017, the California Air Resources Board reported that operating a commercial lawn mower for one hour emits as much pollution as driving a Toyota Camry 480 kilometres. For a commercial leaf blower, the pollution produced was equivalent to driving 1,800 kilometres.

Demers, who runs a landscaping company, says the carcinogenic exhaust and greenhouse gases from the machinery create a health hazard for Park Board workers and the population in general.

He also says the engines create excessive noise in residential areas.

Demers wants park staff to develop a plan for phasing out gas-powered equipment by purchasing battery-powered replacements as the old machines wear out.

"Every year, batteries, equipment itself that's battery-powered, improves dramatically," says Demers who's been transitioning his business out of emissions for three years.

"I would never go back to gas-powered. It's so much easier and much more fun as well to use battery powered equipment."

Demers wants park staff to study the costs of implementing the phase-out as well as the potential reduction of carbon emissions and increased productivity.

He said the park board could recuperate the cost of the new emission-free equipment through gas savings.

He's also speaking with Green Party colleagues on the Vancouver School Board about making a similar transition for equipment used on school grounds.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?