Update on Leaf Blower Restrictions in Vancouver

On January 1, 2003, new rules for the use of leaf blowers in Vancouver take effect. Starting in January 2003, only leaf blowers that meet the low-noise equipment standard of 65 decibels may be used anywhere within the City limits. The by-law changes aim to reduce noise and air pollution within our neighbourhoods. 

For the purposes of the Noise by-law "leaf blower" means a portable machine, including backpack units or handheld units, used for blowing or sucking up leaves, grass, or debris including leaf blowers that accept vacuum attachments but excluding vehicle-mounted units; 

The by-law states: 

a) a person must not operate a leaf blower within 50 metres of the boundaries of any residential premises, except between the hours of 8 o,clock in the morning (0800 hours) to 6 o,clock in the evening (1800 hours) on any week day or between the hours of 9 o,clock in the morning (0900 hours) to 5 o,clock in the evening (1700 hours) on any Saturday; 

(NOTE: You may not use a leaf blower within 50 metres of the boundaries of any residential premises any time on Sundays or holidays.) 

(b) from and after January 1, 2003, a person must not operate a leaf blower unless the leaf blower has attached to it a manufacturer,s decal certifying that the leaf blower meets the Category 1 - db(A)<65 equipment standard set out in ANSI B175.2 - 2000, published by the Portable Power Equipment Manufacturers Association, and containing the information set out on the form of decal attached to and forming part of this By-law.

(NOTE: The requirement to use only Low Noise Leaf Blowers applies city-wide irrespective of whether it is being used beyond 50 metres of the boundaries of residential premises).

If you own or operate a leaf blower, check the manufacturer's label or with your supplier to confirm that your equipment meets the new low-noise standard. Try to use brooms and rakes whenever possible.  If you hire gardening or lawn care contractors, encourage responsible use of leaf blowers by asking for proof of a blower's decibel rating, and encouraging alternate forms of leaf removal. If you have questions about leaf blowers or wish to lodge a complaint please call the Noise Control Supervisor,s office at 604-736-2866 or email us at <environmental_health@vrhb.bc.ca.> 

Equipment that meets the Low Noise equipment standard of 65 decibels: 

Echo Model PB260i  Echo Model PB- 230LN   Echo Model PB- 460LN 

Stihl - Handheld BG45; Backpack BR45C 

Redmax - Backpack EBZ4800 

Maruyama - Backpack BL4500 

Solo - Backpack model 470 

* This list is believed to be complete as of December 23, 2002. Manufacturers who can confirm that they sell a model in Canada that meets the Low Noise criteria but is not listed above should contact the Noise Control Supervisor. 

(From: www.vrhb.bc.ca/EnvironHealth/index.htm)

The October/November issue of Canadian Gardening magazine carries a good article under the  heading "Responsible Gardening" on page 22, by Lorraine Johnson. The headline "Sound & Fury" The landscape trade is uneasy as city councils attempt to deal with excessive noise issues" alludes to the growing problem with noisy power tools and gadgets used (or misused) by many indulging in this activity. Our Society provided much information and also introduced the Silent Gardener, Sheldon Ridout (604-324-3628) to Lorraine.

Right to Quiet Society Newsletter, Fall 2003
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