Date: June 21, 2004
Author: D. Losito
Phone No: 604.714.5677
RTS No.: 4375
CC File No.: 3755
Meeting date: July 22, 2004

TO: Standing Committee on City Services and Budgets

FROM: Director of Health Protection of Vancouver Coastal Health Authority in consultation with the General Manager of Parks & Recreation

SUBJECT: Leaf Blower Regulation - Prohibition in the West End




The City Manager submits for Council's CONSIDERATION the choice between Recommendation A and B, noting that there are additional operational costs to the Park Board if Council wishes to maintain current park maintenance standards. The costs are substantially higher if A is adopted. The City Manager also notes that the Director of Legal Services has prepared two versions of the enacting bylaw for your consideration later this day.


On May 18, 2004 Council approved the following motion to prohibit the use of leaf blowers in the West End of Vancouver.
"Therefore be it resolved that Vancouver Council amend the Noise Control Bylaw to prohibit the use of leaf blowers in the Burrard to Stanley Park area (excluding Stanley Park), and English Bay to Coal Harbour. And that the Director of Legal Services bring forward the appropriate amending bylaw by mid-July, 2004."


The purpose of this document is to seek clarification from Council on the boundaries delineating the area of the West End where leaf blowers will be prohibited, in preparation for adoption of the enacting bylaw.


Staff has reviewed Council's resolution of May 18, 2004 which would prohibit the use of leaf blowers in an area generally described as the West End. Although Council's resolution was reasonably specific about the boundaries of the affected area, these boundaries do not conform to the normal City description of the "West End" and they also encompass some significant Park spaces, especially along English Bay.

Staff has therefore brought forward two versions of the map that would form a Schedule to the amended Noise By-law, one encompassing the literal description of Council's resolution and the other mirroring the traditional geographic description of the West End community. Both versions exclude Stanley Park and the Devonian Harbour Park from the prohibition. From an enforcement perspective, either version will work equally well, but Option 1 (Recommendation A) has greater financial implications to the Park Board.


The Park Board provides the following comments on the budgetary implications of Option 1 versus Option 2:

"Leaf blowers are labour saving devices, which are used for removing leaves as well as debris from a variety of hard and soft surfaces. Leaf and debris removal does not just serve aesthetic and ground maintenance purposes, but it also reduces the risk to members of the public from slipping on wet leaves and other debris. Half of the annual hours of use take place in the period October through January.

The proposed bylaw prohibits the use and this will result either in lower park maintenance standards and higher risk management exposure or alternately the work would have to be undertaken manually. Based on a review of the different task undertaken with leaf blowers it is estimated that on average it will take three times longer to carry out the same work without leaf blowers. Financially this translates to a cost of $90,000 for Option 1 and $39,000 for Option 2. There is also an increased chance of employees incurring repetitive strain injuries.

The Board is seeking an annual increase in its Operating Budget to maintain service levels. The actual 2004 amount would be prorated based on the effective date of the bylaw."


As soon as the bylaw amendment is enacted staff will begin notifying building managers and landscape maintenance companies of the prohibition and will undertake to notify residents of the affected area through the media and community organizations. Enforcement will be carried out by Environmental Health Officers upon receipt of complaints.

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Schedule F (Option 1)

Schedule F (Option 2)