Ban Propane Cannons, It's Time!
Subject: It's time you did something about Propane Cannons!
Earlier this year I attended the Horticultural Show at the Tradex Building in Abbotsford because I had heard you were going to be presenting new regulations restricting the use of propane cannons. At that show you introduced the topic and said that the Ministry of Agriculture was putting new and tougher regulations into place controlling the use of these devices. Your staff then presented the new regulations, and I quickly realized that little had changed.
Now reality is upon us, and granted, instead of cannons firing from dawn to dusk, my neighbour is following the rules and cannons are only blasting from 6:30 AM to 8:00 PM. This is not much relief for the beleaguered.
You also introduced time restrictions, ie. five minutes between blasts for a single shot cannon, and approximately 6 minutes for triple shot cannons, but my neighbour figured this out quickly and added two triple blasters to his arsenal, so now I probably hear more blasts per minute than last season (at last count, I am getting 14 blasts in a 10 minute interval).
At Tradex and in subsequent meetings with the Ban the Cannons group, you spoke about municipal controls, a cannon registry, fines for violators, netting subsidies, and a whole host of other promises that just have not happened. This is all very frustrating for those of us who are victims of propane cannons.
Instead of responding to this note with the usual standard answer, I would rather you take some time and give propane cannons some real thought. Think about all the new fields that are being planted and coming on stream in Abbotsford and other parts of the valley. If every other of these fields resorts to cannons, Abbotsford is going to become the "Noise Pollution Capitol" of British Columbia, and a totally undesirable place to live.
There are alternatives to these devices, and many farms use them. There are the bird call distress systems, that still produce noise but are way less intrusive than cannons. There are a host of silent alternatives, and of course there are nets that are 100% effective in deterring birds.
It's time for this cannon issue to be seriously addressed and a plan put in place to phase out these devices. The most appropriate way is to phase out cannons by location, based on the number of complaints, so that farms in remote areas can still use cannons but farms in more populated areas have to move to quiet alternatives. But whatever approach is taken, some solution has to be found to rid us of these devices. A few hundred blueberry farmers, half of whom do not even live on their properties, should not be able to ruin the lives of so many residents of the Fraser Valley!
And finally you also promised that a complaint process would be put into place and communicated to the public via local newspapers. This was not done either, but in the event that someone in your organization is recording complaints, please record this letter as a strong complaint about the use of propane cannons.
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