Proposed ban on gas-powered tools worries Westmount landscapers
Published Friday, February 23, 2018 6:02PM EST
Last Updated Friday, February 23, 2018 8:16PM EST
The City of Westmount's latest move has some green gardeners seeing red.
It wants to ban gas powered leaf blowers and lawn mowers.
They're not just loud, they also pollute, the city argues, saying older models give off more harmful emissions than some cars.
“We want to reduce emissions and we want to bring down the noise,” said Mayor Christina Smith, who hopes to bring in the new bylaw this spring.
The hope, she said, is homeowners will instead use the next-generation electric lawn and garden tools, which are cleaner and quieter.
“I cannot at all claim that I'm a trailblazer on this,” she said. “This is happening all over North America.”
The problem, however, is it’s not such a simple switch for professional landscapers.
“Unfortunately, it's just not feasible now,” said landscaper John Mastro, who estimates buying all the new equipment could cost him up to $20,000, a cost he would have to pass on to his clients.
“Clients that pay $150-$200 a month, now they're going to have to pay $400 a month. I don't think they know that yet,” he said.
Mastro also said the batteries on electric equipment don't last long enough, and he worries machines aren't as powerful as gas engines, making it longer to do the job.
Matthew di Criscio of Gamma Tool Rentals admits those concerns are legitimate, but said there are a lot of advantages to going electric – including fewer breakdowns, cheaper costs in the long run and of course, the environment.
“It's a new technology coming in very quickly, but like any other technology, it's the way to go. It's the future,” he said.
Landscapers hope they'll be able to convince Westmount to delay the new bylaw.
Smith said she’s willing to talk but is ultimately committed to making lawn care greener.