North Cowichan is being asked to phase out the use of gas-powered garden tools in the municipality.
Council received a letter from a local resident pointing out that the District of Oak Bay, located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, recently decided to phase out the use of gas-powered garden tools within the municipality by 2026, a first by a local government in the region.
Noise and emissions from gas-powered equipment were the main reasons for the initiative.
“I would like to ask that North Cowichan’s council consider the implementation of a similar bylaw to improve the quality of life for residents, and to reduce emissions as part of our climate-change mitigation actions,” the letter writer said.
“It doesn’t seem as difficult to achieve as electrifying our transportation or our homes, and with tens of thousands of these engines being used in North Cowichan, I think the impact could be huge.”
At a recent council meeting, Coun. Christopher Justice asked North Cowichan’s environmental staff if the phasing out of gas-powered garden tools should be a priority for council.
David Conway, North Cowichan director of engineering, said the issue has not been identified as a priority in the recent update of the municipality’s climate action and energy plan.
“But staff is looking at the possibility of having a strategy to phase out internal-combustion small equipment,” he said.
Coun. Kate Marsh, chair of North Cowichan’s environmental advisory committee, suggested that the issue could go to the committee for consideration.
“But I don’t know that we would have enough time before the end of our term [in October] to look at it,” she said.
“I suggest that, if a decision is made to move forward with it, we would need to have a phased-in approach.”
No motion was made on the issue at the council meeting and council decided to receive the letter for information at this time.
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