Cities in Quebec and across the United States have banned leaf blowers over seasonal noise concerns, but in Waterloo region, the equipment can still be used — with some limitations.
The city of Westmount has banned the use of leaf blowers in the summer time, not only for residential users but city workers and professional landscapers. The nearby town of Beaconsfield is considering the same ban.
In Waterloo region, there are no municipal bans on the blowers.
Kitchener, Cambridge, Waterloo or Guelph do not have bylaws banning the use of leaf blowers or any plans to restrict them. But, with the exception of Cambridge, their use is covered under the municipalities’ various noise bylaws.
So, if you plan to use any noisy yard equipment this summer, and especially on weekends, here’s what you need to know where you live.
The use of leaf blowers is not banned, and there are no plans to ban them, according to Gloria McNeil, the director of bylaw enforcement at the City of Kitchener.
“Honestly, it’s not problematic for us,” she said. “We don’t get a lot of complaints about noisy yard work at 6 o’clock in the morning.”
However, the city’s noise bylaw is in effect 24 hours per day.
“There are reasonable times to do noisy yard work, say after 7 a.m. to dusk,” said McNeil.
The penalty for infringing upon the bylaw is a $300 fine. But, McNeil said it’s just common sense to have a conversation with someone before fining them.
The City of Cambridge’s current bylaws do not regulate the use of leaf blowers or other power gardening tools, and there are no time restrictions on their use.
“We are working on a new draft noise bylaw that proposes to restrict the use of household lawn-type equipment such as leaf blowers during certain times, but this is still in draft and not finalized,” said Dennis Purcell, chief building officer. “This bylaw would have to be presented to and approved by council.”
There is no ban on the use of leaf blowers in Waterloo, but their use is restricted under that city’s noise bylaw.
The operation or use of any tool for domestic purposes is prohibited in residential areas between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. the next day. On Sundays that extends to 9 a.m.
The penalty for infractions is $490.
Guelph, too, has no ban on the use of leaf blowers, and Dave Gooch, the program manager of bylaw compliance, said that he’s unaware of any plans to ban them.
However, the operation of any tool including a hammer, saw, nail gun, lawnmower, staple gun, hedge trimmer or drill is banned in residential areas between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. (9 a.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays).
The minimum fine for infractions is $150 plus a victim surcharge.