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Majority held hostage

I am against the use of cannons and all scaring devices and I resent the implication in your editorial ('This isn't Green Acres,' Times, June 17) that the blueberry cannon issue is us against them - farmer against non-farmer.

It is about abusive noise, nothing else. I am not a residential landowner nor am I from "two vastly different worlds." I have lived in Abbotsford since 1975 and my husband and I have been farming for 23 years.

I understand the "rich aroma of manure" and all other farm-related activities. All farming involves some inconvenience to the neighbours but nothing as intrusive as the noise of bird-scaring devices which blare away for 13 and a half hours a day, day after day for six weeks or more.

Telling me to "go back to the city" is arrogant and ignorant.

There are many other methods to successfully control the birds and the Ministry of Agriculture's report (The Use of Audible Bird Scare Devices in B.C.2001) has recommended that a one time funding option be available to farmers for netting.

The new recommendations limit the number of cannon blasts to one every five minutes and 33 shots an hour for a multiple-shot cannon. In Australia they are only allowed five or six discharges an hour and only one scaring device per four hectares (10 acres). Here it's one device every two hectares (five acres). So let's do the math.

If you live beside a farm with two or three noise devices of multiple shots then you are subjected to up to 1,335 blasts a day. And that's from only one farm.

The report also recommends a separation distance of 150 metres between a cannon and a neighbouring residence in the ALR and 300 metres in urban-residential. Are people in the ALR less able to hear than people living in subdivisions?

If I was to buy a house next to you and then sit in my yard and shoot a gun off every five minutes from 6:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. you'd have me in jail before breakfast.

You may not now be living within hearing distance of a blueberry cannon but with the incredible number of new fields going into production you may be soon.

I don't understand how the minority is able to hold the majority of us under siege all summer long and into the fall. It's not right.

C. G.
Mount Lehman

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