The city is exploring quieter options after crews using leaf-blowers made a racket Friday at 4 a.m. in downtown Abbotsford.
Local resident Regina Dalton said she was woken up at that early hour by two leaf blowers clearing Essendene Avenue and Montrose Street of debris. Having been awoken at the early hour, she said she was unable to convince city crews to stop the racket and it continued for hours.
In an email to the city, Dalton wrote: “I know this work has to be done — I also know that in the past it has been completed during reasonable hours … One year I remember when the leaf blowers came as far as our front yard — but that was during daytime hours.”
The city passed a new noise bylaw last year that prohibits sounds at certain decibels in quiet areas. But it also exempts city crews from the bylaw.
City spokesperson Katherine Treloar said on Friday that the city has conducted early morning sidewalk and road clean-up in recent years before certain downtown events, including the car show, berry festival, Canada Day and – in this case – tree lighting. Abbotsford’s downtown tree lighting is scheduled for Saturday, from 5 to 9 p.m.
Treloar said the city conducts the clean-ups at early hours for safety reasons and to “avoid disruption to traffic and parking.” But she said the city is looking at the possibility of using battery-powered equipment during future early morning clean-ups to reduce the noise. Leaf-blowers, rather than much-quieter rakes, are needed because of the large area being cleaned.
The number of people living in Abbotsford’s historic downtown has increased considerably in recent years, and is expected to soar in the coming years as new multi-family housing projects are completed.