• Carmen Marie Fabio

Something in the air in Beaconsfield


Following a substantial reduction in the amount of garbage disposed of by residents after the introduction of the incentive tariff approach, the City of Beaconsfield is considering another environmental move by possibly banning of leaf blowers in summer between June 15 and September 15.

“A couple of months ago, I spoke about the environment committee making a recommendation to restrict leaf blowers,” said District 2 Councillor Karen Messier of By-law BEAC-033-3. She went on to say the committee last year adopted the David Suzuki Blue Dot declaration for the right to a healthy environment. “We’re one of just over 100 cities in the country that adopted this and one of the top declarations is the right to breathe clean air.”

Having recently returned from the Sustainable Communities conference in Ottawa with District 3 Councillor Wade Staddon, Messier recounted the discussion by the federal Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna of the role cities play in combatting climate change.

“All of these measures, as small as they may seem, add up and I think it’s important that we look at the right to breathe clean air.” Messier said the restriction on leaf blowers is less about the noise than it is about air quality.

“I want to indicate my strong support for measures to restrict the use of leaf blowers for a variety of health reasons,” said resident Michael Cloghesy. “I’d like to know whether this particular restrictive use would also apply in the future to lawnmowers.”

Mayor Georges Bourelle said the council and Environmental Advisory Committee will be discussing a number of measures that could possibly be taken concerning further nuisance by-law infractions.

“We listen to the lawnmowers because we have to but once they’re done, we have this high-pitched noise going on – in some cases on larger properties, for a long time,” said Messier, noting the vast majority of leaf blowers are gas-powered. “They’re blowing up small particulate matter – dust, pollen, and mold, into the air.” Messier said members of the community with compromised respiratory systems end up suffering from the use of a tool that is, “not really necessary, especially in the summertime.”

“Do you think it would be a good idea to also ban leaf blowers in the springtime when they just blow dust and sand?” asked resident Francois Gilbert.

“Right now, the motion put forth is to restrict their use for the period when there really are no leaves,” said Messier.

The incentive tariff garbage pick-up implemented January 1 of this year sees residents charged according to the amount of garbage they dispose of, with the option of choosing different sized bins based on household need.

“The collection system has been very successful,” said Messier. “We now have three or four trucks circulating our city – with all the greenhouse gases that come with that – rather than eight with our previous collections.”

District 1 Councillor David Pelletier said council is also looking to address dust that results from specialized stone and masonry installations. “We’ve been aware that (the dust) is inconvenient and not pleasant to deal with but it’s really come to light, the negative respiratory effects.” With the increasing popularity of interlocking stone driveways, dust from their installation will also fall under the proposed by-law.

“What this by-law says is that you cannot produce dust,” said Pelletier, specifying that contractors could, ideally, use water saws to minimize the dust or cut the stone within a shelter. “Either way, the dust has to be controlled.”