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Berries, Buried in Noise

Propane cannons used by blueberry farmers to scare birds have turned many once-peaceful areas of the Fraser Valley into virtual war zones. The pre-programmed machines explode ad nauseam, all summer long, driving shell-shocked neighbours, more than the intended starlings, to distraction.

For over 20 years, my husband and I took great pride in our small acreage, boasting to our city friends about how great it was to live here. Five years ago, dairy farms became blueberry fields, and our ordeal began. We no longer entertain in the summer. We are just too tired of answering the inevitable questions: "What's that noise!" "How can you stand listening to that all day?" "Why don't you do something about that?"

They are questions we ask, too. How can citizens be protected by noise bylaws against barking dogs or loud stereos while we second class citizens who live just outside the city limits have no recourse whatsoever when neighbours start blasting off ear-splitting explosions every few minutes from dawn to dusk? The use of these cannons is nothing short of barbaric. It is a crude method one would expect from primitive man.

Although there are environmentally friendly methods available, propane cannons are still used simply because they are cheap and easy to use.

But in this 21st century we no longer do things the cheapest and easiest way if it pollutes our environment. And these propane cannons are a blatant form of noise pollution, as well as a blatant violation of neighbouring farmers' right to peace and quiet.

It is a disgrace that the powers that be condone this outrageous practice. There have been hundreds of complaints regarding the use and misuse of these cannons. But the farm lobby is very strong, and politicians and bureaucrats are complacently protecting the status quo.

Until or unless the victims of the archaic farm practice get together and make as much noise as those obnoxious cannons, this insanity will only get worse.

To learn more about this problem or to help Ban the Cannons, Email: or check the website:
BL, Aldergrove

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