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Actions in 2001
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Actions to Date Our Goals Actions to Date Types of Devices Impacts of Noise Solutions Links Contacts Who to Complain To

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Our group, Ban the Cannons, had its official start in the spring of 2001. The founding members met several times and planned a strategy for tackling this noise pollution problem .

First, the group felt it needed to increase its membership so they distributed flyers to hundreds of homes in areas impacted by cannons.

Second, a plan to picket appropriate locations was set in motion and this action drew significant media attention.

Third, it was agreed to present our position to local and provincial governments to try to get this issue resolved.

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Membership:
Membership in the Ban the Cannons organization grew rapidly after flyers were distributed and the group began to get some media attention. The group now has members from communities all across the Fraser Valley, including Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Delta, Langley, Mission, Surrey, and Pitt Meadows. There are over one hundred signed up members and a core group of about forty who are able to attend rallies and pickets during the weekdays.
Pickets:

It was agreed that about every two weeks an information picket should be held at appropriate locations, supported by media representatives, to draw attention to the noise pollution problem caused by propane cannons. The following pickets were held:

  1. In late July, at the intersection of 16th Ave. and LeFeuvre Road in Abbotsford.
  2. In early August at 232nd St. and 20th Ave. in Langley.
  3. At the end of August at the Ministry of Agriculture offices in Abbotsford.
  4. In early September at a blueberry farm owned by the head of the local blueberry growers organization.
  5. And our final picket of the season was held at the Minister of Agriculture's office, the Office of Mr. John Van Dongen.

Presentations to Governments:

The third set of initiatives undertaken by the group were presentations to municipal and provincial government officials:

  1. On Monday, August 13th a presentation was given to Abbotsford Council, by Roger C.
  2. On Friday, September 28th, the first meeting of the Mayor's "Propane Cannon Advisory Select Committee" was held. Subsequent meetings followed on October 16th, and October 30.
  3. On Friday Nov.30, a dozen of our members met with the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. John Van Dongen.

And that is a summary of our 2001 activities.

For those of you who wish to read the details of these activities, they can be found at the bottom of this page.


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Pickets:

It was agreed that about every two weeks an information picket should be held at appropriate locations to draw attention to the noise pollution problem caused by propane cannons. The following pickets were held:

  1. Our first picket was held In late July, at the intersection of 16th Ave. and LeFeuvre Road, in Abbotsford, in the heart of blueberry country. This picket was a resounding success. The group got together beforehand and made signs, shared coffee and doughnuts and then marched to the designated location. There we picketed from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM, much to the ire of local blueberry farmers. Several newspapers sent reporters to cover the event and many people passing by gave us the big thumbs up! We handed out many pamphlets and received coverage in the local papers.

  2. Our second picket in early August was held in Langley, the township adjacent to Abbotsford. Your humble webmaster was unable to attend this picket, as he was busy haying, but I was told that the event was also a great success and it expanded our exposure outside of Abbotsford. We also had newspaper and radio coverage of this event.

  3. Our third picket, held towards the end of August was at the Ministry of Agriculture offices in Abbotsford, and this event was covered by the local media as well as BC TV. Our grievance hit the TV airways that evening on the 6:00 news.

  4. A week later we picketed the residence and farm of the head of the local blueberry growers organization. This insignificant little farm had less than two acres of blueberry bushes planted, and used a dreadful AV Alarm Box that created a very load bird distress noise. This device was set to go off every 11 seconds, and the distress noise lasted for 11 seconds in duration. Can you imagine! These devices, which are described in more detail on our "Devices Page" can crank out sound at 120 decibels.

  5. Our final picket of the season was held at the Minister of Agriculture's office, the Office of Mr. John Van Dongen. At this time we delivered our demands to his staff asking to change the farm practices act that allows the use of noise makers as normal farm practices. Our view is that these devices must be banned.

Presentations to Governments:

The second set of initiatives undertaken by the group were presentations to municipal and provincial government officials.

  1. On Monday, August 13th a presentation was given to Abbotsford Council, by Roger C. of our group. The Mayor, George Ferguson and Alderman John Redekop were particularly supportive, and most other councillors were in favor of addressing the issue. Coun. Redekop proposed that a committee be set up to study the propane cannon issue and report its findings to the Provincial Ministry of Agriculture, which is ultimately responsible for controlling cannons. This motion was passed and Mayor Ferguson stated that he would be a part of the committee. Only Councillors Gibson and Warawa spoke against the motion and only the latter voted against it. The objective of the committee was to present something to the Ministry of Agriculture early in the New Year (2002) to given farmers enough time to react prior to the next berry season. We all left the presentation feeling ecstatic. Our man Roger had done a wonderful job!

  2. On Friday, September 28th, the first Mayor's committee meeting was held, and named the "Propane Cannon Advisory Select Committee". The Mayor attended, along with Councillor Moe Gill, also a berry farmer. Four blueberry growers were a part of the committee as was a member of the Blueberry council, representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, and our lone representative, Roger. Roger may have been outnumbered but he more than held his own and lambasted the growers for their socially unacceptable practices of bombarding their neighbors with constant noise pollution. A number of issues were discussed and a second meeting scheduled.

  3. On October 16th the second meeting was held and the blueberry farmers failed to turn up. Our group turned up in force and filled the room. The representative from the Blueberry Council, Geraldine Auston, made a quick comment and excused herself shortly after the session began, never to be seen or heard from again. At this session presentations were made by WCB staff, concerning noise levels and the Pitt Meadows bylaw officer who described how that community handled the cannon issue. Our group also presented our position paper on noise makers at this meeting.

  4. The next meeting was held on October 30. Only Ministry of Agriculture representatives were left, and they for some reason took on the role of defending the absent growers. Needless to say they received the rath of those of us who pay their salaries! As it turns out these representatives had not even forwarded our position paper to the Minister. They were acting on their own initiative, and their position basically was the status quo. At this meeting our position was discussed, and Mayor Ferguson said that we were optimistic to think cannons could be banned by 2003. A more realistic date would be in about five years. He did say this folks! The Ministry of Agriculture people were silent from then on. The next meeting was planned for one month later, Nov. 28th.

  5. This meeting was cancelled at the last minute because the Ministry of Agriculture rep's said they would not be returning. Our group was very "down" about this because our plan was to expand upon Mayor Ferguson's five year statement and to finalize an approach for getting there. We think a political decision was made here that things were going too fast, too soon! Calls were made and not returned and our group became very restless. Finally a call got through to the Minister of Agriculture who agreed to meet with us.

  6. On Friday Nov.30, about a dozen of our members met with the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. John Van Dongen. We again expressed our strong opposition to the use of cannons, the acceptance of cannons as "normal farm practices", the impacts of noise on peoples lives, etc. etc. Mr. Van Dongen was very patient with us, even when one of our more exuberant members suggested it was time that politicians got "off their asses" and did something about this issue! He then explained that he had commissioned his staff to summarize the cannon problem for him. His plan is to review the cannon issue through the Xmas/New Year break of 2001, and put a plan in place early in the New Year, 2002. The situation will change he said, but he would not promise a ban on cannons at this time, but also would not rule it out. He asked our group to forward a copy of our recommendations to him to be a part of his review. This was a very positive meeting and again our group left a political meeting feeling very good.

And that is a detailed summary of our activities to date.

For more information about our group, Ban the Cannons please call:
Roger @ 604 856-2085 or
Terry @ 604 856-4209 or
send a note to : bancannons@hotmail.com
Good neighbors keep their noise to themselves!

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About the Group | Our Goals | Actions to Date | Upcoming Events | Solutions
Types of Devices | Impacts of Noise | Links | Contacts | Who to Complain to
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