Vancouver bans leaf blowers

Vancouver has become the first city in Canada to ban gas-powered leaf blowers. A full ban takes effect 2004.

The city's council passed the resolution last week after being subjected to the high-pitched drone and gasoline smell of a blower at a budget meeting.

Two former politicians walked around the room with a blower and measured the noise: it came in at 90 to 102 decibels, far above what is considered safe for human hearing.

City administrators had recommended a softer stance: only blowers registering below 65 decibels would have been allowed.

Presentations by several other residents persuaded the councillors to enact the ban.

Until 2004, the use of leaf blowers will be restricted. They will only be allowed between October and January and at least 50 metres from any residential building.

Leaf blowers have been at the centre of debates in many cities where some consider them both a noise and air pollutant..

Los Angeles is the only other major city to ban gas powered leaf blowers. The 1998 ban enraged gardeners who held a strike on the steps of city hall.

In Vancouver, the proposal ruffled the concerns of B.C. landscapers who argued leaf blowers are a critical piece of equipment in their industry.