An Oak Bay resident tired of gas-powered leaf blowers has launched an online petition to have them permanently nixed from the neighbourhood.

And so far, he’s blown away by the support.

Francis Landy’s Change.org petition, Phaseout gas-powered leaf blowers in Oak Bay, was published two months ago and has surpassed 350 signatures.

“Thank you to all of you who have signed the petition, especially those who have done so in the last couple of days,” Landy wrote last week.

He’s calling on Oak Bay council to eventually ban the machines for commercial and residential use, noting they’re highly polluting, extremely noisy, and destructive of the environment.

In fact, a 2011 Edmunds survey finds two-stroke gas-powered blowers actually spew out more pollution than a 6200-lbs Ford F-150 pickup truck.

“This is because a two-stroke engine combines oil and gas in a single chamber. The design also means that one-third of the fuel may be emitted as unburned aerosol,” Landy wrote.

He says gas-powered blowers can cause “long-term physical and mental health issues” and destroy insect life, with “harmful consequences” for soil quality and the food chain.

According to Landy, numerous landscaping companies around town have switched to electric equipment entirely. “Cheaper still, and better for communal health, are rakes,” he said.

Landy recalls Vancouver city council voting last month to phase out gas-powered leaf blowers by 2024. He says the City of Victoria is also considering changing its noise bylaws, which could in turn ban gas-powered blowers.

Now, Landy’s hoping for the same outcome in Oak Bay, while suggesting officials create a recycling or buyback program for the machines once they’re obsolete.

“There is a lot of support and the comments will be invaluable, especially when it comes to presenting it to council. We will make Oak Bay into a cleaner, more environmentally friendly place,” Landy added.

Currently, Oak Bay’s Anti-Noise Bylaw prohibits using a leaf blower on weekends or holidays outside the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m, and Monday through Friday outside the hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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