Ban on gas-powered tools certain to ‘concern’ some residents, says Oakville mayor

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Published August 13, 2023 at 9:00 am

Oakville Mayor Rob Bruton anticipates local residents might be concerned about being told that they can’t use their gas-powered equipment if the town goes ahead and bans them. PEXELS PHOTO

While council is set to explore a ban on gas-powered outdoor power tools like lawn mowers and leaf blowers for both town staff and public, Oakville Mayor Rob Burton expects there’s certain to be pushback from some residents in Oakville.

The ban would include, but not limited to, leaf blowers, lawn mowers, trimmers and edgers as a priority project in the update to the Town’s community energy strategy.

The aim of the recent motion would be to look at ways to reduce the need to use those forms of equipment and help Oakville cut down on greenhouse emissions.

“First, I suppose it’s accurate to say the town is looking at it,” Burton told inhalton.com’s Khaled Iwamura during the monthly video interview. “That is, it’s been brought to council and council has (written up) a report and will weigh the pros and cons of it.”

The town declared a Climate Emergency and while big steps have already been taken to address the crisis such as the move to electrify town buses, some residents may not be happy having to replace gas-powered tools at home.

The costly measure is sure to irk some.

“I’m anticipating that people might be concerned about being told that they can’t use those pieces of equipment,” said the mayor. “I get that a two-cycle engine is dirtier than a four-cycle engine and all that kind of stuff, but you try to turn that into this climate change cause celeb. . .

“I guess everything’s a climate change issue now.”

Some cities like Guelph have already begun to make the move to electric-powered tools.

Ward 2 Councillor Ray Chisholm brought the motion forward to explore a ban.

“It’s taken a lot of organization and making the right infrastructure to make this start to happen,” Chisholm previously told inhalton.com. “I think some residents are looking for something that is doable and one of the main concerns of course is we have the (larger) greenhouse gases from cars and homes.

“But there is a high intensity of the two-stroke engines that are committing a lot of pollutants, so this is probably a start to make people aware, especially in Oakville, with the concerns of these power tools.”

The benefits to the climate are worth it, says Chisholm. Still, such a transition will take time.

“It’s something that’s very grassroots and something that’s attachable for our community to review and to look at, and to start a movement to change over to electrification of our power tools and power equipment,” Chisholm said.

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