VANCOUVER, British Columbia. – Vancouver city council has voted to ban leaf blowers in the city's West End, in an effort to reduce noise pollution. City councillor Tim Stevenson, who made the motion, says the noise is particularly bad in the densely populated high-rise neighborhood.
"The noise reverberates off the various buildings, high-rises and so on, and affects many people in a small area," he says. "I've had many complaints over the last two years."
John Whistler of the West End Residents Association agrees, saying the blowers are a major nuisance. "We find them a very annoying tool. Virtually every resident I speak to in the West End does not like them," he says.
But the move has upset many in the landscaping industry who say the prohibition will cost them money and won't solve the problem. Gordon MacArthur of Para Space Landscaping says banning leaf blowers will make it harder to do his job – and won't stop the noise.
"You're going to have some people using other machines, which are ironically louder than the blowers they're replacing," he says. Despite those objections, the ban could spread to other parts of the city. Some city councillors suggest if the West End ban works well, they may propose a prohibition of leaf blowers for the entire city.