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In the July 12 edition of the Maple Ridge Times a letter was published from a person defending the use of propane cannons by blueberry farmers.

The letter went on to sympathize with the farmers, explaining the economic hardships they are under, and stating that an outright ban could lead to economic ruin for many farmers. The letter went on to discuss past decisions as far back as 1992 which have allowed these noise polluting devices to continue to this day.

We face these same issues on the south side of the Fraser River, in Abbotsford, and the group I belong to, Ban the Cannons, says it is time that people fast forwarded from 1992 to the present and began to face the reality of propane cannons. Can you imagine being woken up every morning at dawn by cannons booming twice a minute on an adjacent field, then having to listen to these devices all day long until dusk. That's what my family had to put up with last season and our cannons have just started up again in the past week. I also know there are many more families just like mine on both sides of the river who are victims of propane cannons.

This should not be allowed to happen.

I disagree with the economic picture painted by the author of the letter. The blueberry industry is currently "booming". The number of acres planted in blueberries has more than tripled in the past ten years and continues to grow to this day. Why is this? Because blueberries are currently the "in" crop. There is money to be made in blueberries.

As for alternatives to cannons, there are numerous. The obvious solution is nets, which are 100% effective in deterring birds. And there are many other silent alternatives as well. The Ban the Cannons group has studied the issue extensively and lists more than a dozen silent alternatives on their web site: http://bancannons.tripod.com/

I do agree with the writer that it is time the industry, and the ministry of agriculture began to take this issue seriously and put some effort into solving the bird predation problem. But it is also time that municipal governments began to stand up for the thousands of residences who are impacted by cannons. Municipal governments should put a time line in place for phasing out propane cannons, giving growers time to adopt quiet alternatives, and also giving residents some hope that finally the use of these noise polluting devices will end.

A few hundred blueberry farmers should not be permitted to impact the lives and enjoyment of property of thousands of residents of the Fraser Valley. This is wrong and has got to stop.

MD. Abbotsford BC, (a member of Ban the Cannons)

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