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Are cannons “Normal” farm practice?
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From: "H & T"
To: fpb@agf.gov.vc.ca
CC: Bcblueberries@direct.ca, john.vandongen.mla@leg.bc.ca, bancannons@hotmail.com
Subject: Definition of Normal Farm Practices

Dear Sir,

My purpose in writing this letter is to ask your membership to define the term "normal farm practices" as used in the Farm Practices Protection Act. I have before me a copy of the noise by-law for the city of Abbotsford. Every word used in its opening statements is defined. For example, the following words are all clearly explained in detail: noise, person, property; and there are others. It would seem to be required policy in legal descriptions to define one's terms of reference.

Is it oversight or arrogance that explains your group's continued failure to define "normal farm practices", the sole phrase on which you base your whole claim to the use of obnoxious blueberry cannons and other noise devices? Abbotsford City by-laws protect its citizens from "noises or sounds ... which disturb or tend to disturb the quiet, peace, rest, enjoyment, comfort or convenience of the neighbourhood, or of persons in the vicinity, individuals or the public" (excerpt from Noise Regulation By-Law No. 253-96, Section 932 of the Municipal Act). Noise is defined as "any loud outcry, clamour, shouting or movement, or any sound that is loud or harsh or undesirable". If the phrase "normal farm practices" can be used to supercede the above by-law and to override the ordinary citizen's right to enjoyment of property then you must define it. With my dictionary in hand, I need to ask you some pertinent questions. For example, in what way is the blasting of cannons "normal"? Does "normal" mean cannons are "acceptable to every one"? Does it mean they are "traditional and time honoured"? Are they "typical and unexceptional"? Are they "in common use" by all farmers? If not, then how can they be deemed "normal"? How is it possible that some large blueberry farms do not need to use them? (I am grateful to those farmers who refuse to ignore the rights of others and who choose other options.)

Using propane cannons is socially irresponsible. The rights of a few are safeguarded by ignoring the rights of others. Protecting their continued use at the expense of those of us who do not produce specific crops is unacceptable. There are livestock farmers whose right to farm is violated by the same act that guarantees the right to generate this kind of noise pollution. As a Board, do you protect only select kinds of farming ? Industries are required to clean up the pollution they engender. It's time for you to do the same. Noise pollution cannot be allowed to hide behind vague phrases like "normal farm practices". I encourage you to explore other means of crop protection and to discard a philosophy that says, "Some of us are more equal than others".

I look forward to your reply.

Sincerely,
(Mrs.) T
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