Esquimalt reviewing gas-powered leaf blower phase out within two years – Saanich News

Esquimalt has taken a step towards banning leaf blowers powered by gas.

The township gave the market two years to prepare. It will then decide whether to allow the community, staff, or companies to phase out the use of gas-powered machinery by September 2024.

Esquimalt employees need to have access to rechargeable batteries while on the worksite. Staff are exploring options to expand the current three charging stations. They plan to make use of existing maintenance sheds to ensure that there is always enough battery charge. Commercial landscapers also face difficulties with charging.

The review timeline was approved by councillors at the Sept. 20, meeting. Councillors directed staff to investigate how Esquimalt might help landscaping companies switch via incentives at the municipal or provincial levels. Companies must consider the price of gas when evaluating their operations.

The Esquimalt park workers currently use electric backpack and handheld leaf blowers, line and hedge trimmers, chainsaws, and line-and-hedge trimmers. Electric models are quieter, more cost-effective to run and maintain, and easier to start, according to staff. It is important to take into account the capital cost of charging batteries and chargers.

The township has already started to phase out small fuel-powered chainsaws and blowers. The main problem is the equipment’s ability to perform larger tasks.

Staff stated that electric backpack blowers are about 20 minutes in duration and can’t move wet leaves, grass, or soil like gas counterparts.

The electric chainsaws are capable of cutting branches and trees less than 16 inches. However, technology must improve to cut thicker and last longer. Staff pointed out the rapid improvement in zero-emission equipment technology, which has longer-lasting batteries and more power.

According to staff, electric models have a positive aspect: they are loved and loved by park workers. Electric equipment like handheld blowers and hedge trimmers are the parks workers’ preferred choice, being easier to handle and having longer operation times.

Because smaller properties are easier and more manageable, residential transitions are easier.

Barb Desjardins, Mayor, stated that the township must support the switchover.

“I think we’ve reached a good way of moving forward.”

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Esquimalt reviewing gas-powered leaf blower phase out within two years – Saanich News

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