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Abnormal Farm Practice

Editor, The News
I read with interest, the Tuesday, August 13th article on your front page about the use of propane cannons by blueberry farmers. We used to live in North Vancouver and could easily hear the nine o'clock gun in Stanley Park which was many miles away. Vancouverites are very proud of this gun, but imagine if it started at six o'clock in the morning and fired three times in fifteen seconds and then repeated this sequence every three or four minutes until eight o'clock in the evening. No one in Vancouver would ever put up with that. That exact scenario is what residents near blueberry farms in the Fraser Valley have had to put up with every summer for the past five or six years. Every day. All summer.

Due to pressure from the Ban the Cannons group the Ministry of Agriculture has graciously reduced the frequency of the blasts to a triple blast every five minutes and the cannons are not allowed to start until six thirty. Gee thanks. That means we only have to listen to 445 blasts every day. Of course, that is assuming that the farmer only has one cannon, but many farms have four or five cannons depending on the acreage that they have in berries.

The ministry says that this is "normal farm practice" but I wonder how something as abnormal as this could ever be classed as normal. Normal implies a practice that has gone on for decades or longer, not a constant barrage of ear-splitting noise that has only started in the past few years.

Mount Lehman

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