Council can expect progress on its push to regulate gas-powered landscaping equipment early next year, after officially adding to priorities and staff work flow this month.
Last year Oak Bay embarked on a five-year transition of shifting its public works department from using small engine gas-powered landscape equipment to electric versions. This spring council got fully on board the move away from items such as gas-powered lawnmowers and leafblowers, embarking on a process to ban their use in the district.
During the July 11 council meeting, district staff outlined options for council to consider, and items for members to think about in the interim. Council opted to move ahead with a staff-led initiative, with support from an engagement consultant.
Noting the complexity of the issue, staff outlined a few areas for council to consider prior to the first report expected in February 2023. One is potential for incentives to encourage voluntary participation – taking into account the Community Charter prohibits assisting businesses.
Staff also suggested identifying key objectives and scope around the types of equipment that are captured as well as level of public engagement.
Preliminary council input tasked staff with looking at impacts to residents with larger properties and recent equipment purchases; sussing out useful tools from other municipalities in the region looking at similar regulations; the potential landfill and recycling impacts and expansive community input.
A new council will be in place before any regulation of gas-powered lawn gear could be implemented – the municipal election set for Oct. 15.
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