for Soundscape Awareness and Protection

359 - 1985 Wallace Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6R 4H4 Phone (604) 222-0207
Web Site: www.quiet.org E-mail: info@quiet.org

Spring 2011

Leaf Blower Blues


 In Which the Dreaded Leaf Blower Gets its Comeuppance

Ted Mitchell explains in painstaking detail exactly why you find leaf blowers so damned annoying.

The last two decades have witnessed widespread increase in the use of leaf blowers and other cheap two-stroke lawn equipment. Accompanying this has been a stunning lack of concern for negative effects of nuisance noise and air pollution on quality of life. Using a leaf blower suggests vanity, laziness, and disregard for peaceful enjoyment of the neighbourhood.

Vanity, because most of the work done by a leaf blower does not need doing, and nature reverses it quickly. Small amounts of organic debris do no harm, and can hardly be seen from beyond your sidewalk. Once a driveway is pristine, entropy is sure to cover it with more organic debris within a couple of days.

Laziness, because tasks accomplished by a leaf blower can be easily done with a rake or a broom in the same amount of time. Both manual tasks, done properly, utilize the large muscles of the trunk and can be done by people of nearly every age and ability. And there is no other power tool that is less effective in saving time and work.

Utter disregard for others, because - try relaxing in your back yard with friends or a good book in earshot of a leaf blower. You might be the nicest person in the neighbourhood, but that all ends when you pull the trigger on a two-stroke engine. Action speaks louder than words or intentions. Most leaf blower operators don't intend to degrade their neighbours' quality of life, but it is a predictable consequence..

Excerpts from a comprehensive article by Dr. Ted Mitchell. Read the entire illustrated article HERE .

In Orinda, as in much of coastal and near-coastal California, gardens and trees do the representational work that lawns do elsewhere: they enhance your property by extending your living space and by advertising your ability to bring nature to heel. Any challenge to a property’s routine maintenance thus becomes a threat to self-worth, net worth, and an entire way of life. So a lot of people here will give up their leaf blowers only when you pry them from their cold, dead hands (or, more precisely, from their Hispanic gardeners’ cold, dead hands).

Excerpt from The Grass is Always Greener, Link to New Yorker article.

Using your leaf blower in the City of Vancouver: Please remember to be courteous when using your leaf blower. Leaf blowers are not permitted to be used in the area of the city bounded by Burrard St. on the east, Stanley Park on the west, Georgia St. on the north and Beach Ave. on the south.

In the areas of the city where leaf blowers are allowed, a person must not operate a leaf blower within 50 metres of the boundaries of any residential premises, except from 8 am to 6 pm, Monday through Friday, and 9 am to 5 pm on Saturdays. If there are no residential premises within 50 metres, a leaf blower can be used from 7 am to 10 pm, Monday to Saturday.

Property Use Inspections Division investigates and seeks compliance for the majority of noise concerns EXCEPT for these noise-related issues: For any noise related issue that arises outside of City of Vancouver working hours, please contact the Vancouver Police Non-Emergency Line at 604.717.3321. AND ALSO fill out an on-line complaint form for the city inspectors to follow on.

Link to website

Link to top

Entire contents © 2011 Right to Quiet Society. Cartoon © 1996 Right to Quiet Society

< 1 2 3 4 5 6 Next >

Right to Quiet Home Page