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What's Langley Township doing
about propane cannons?

May 29, 2002

Langley Township Council
Langley, B.C.
Dear Mayor and Councillors:
On April 5, I attended a second meeting, with a group of concerned citizens, at the office of the Minister of Agriculture, The Hon. John van Dongen. We had previously expressed our serious concerns about the use of propane cannons by Fraser Valley blueberry farmers and subsequently the Minister ordered his staff to investigate the problems and present him with its recommendations. New guidelines for the use fo propane cannons have now been issued by the Minister.

Mr. van Dongen informed us that he has been " encouraging local governments in the Lower Mainland to rewrite their farm bylaws regarding the use of audible bird scare devices". He also stated that, " we have empowered local governments to regulate this issue and impose fines as necessary " ( this is a direct quote from the Minister ).

Cannon season is fast approaching and I, as well as other concerned Langley residents, would like to know what action has been taken in regard to the cannon issue. In particular, I have the following questions:
- Is Langley Township rewriting its noise bylaw to incorporate the new cannon regulations issued by MAFF?
-Who will police the farmers using cannons ( bylaw officers)?
- Will fines be imposed on those who do not follow the new cannon regulations?
- What phone number will be made available for complainants if a farmer is not following the new guidelines?
- Will the contact phone number be manned on a 24 hour basis ( cannons firing all night is a typical complaint)?
- will all complaints be recorded to help determine the magnitude of the problem and will the records be readily available to the public ( freedom of information )?

In 1999, I headed a group of Langley residents who met with Bill Storie and Alberto de Feo to discuss the impact of propane cannons on our neighbourhood. It was made clear to us, at that time, that Langley Township was unable to do anything about the cannon problem due to the Farm Practices Act. It was also made perfectly clear that we would have to convince the Minister of Agriculture that changes were necessary. It's now three years later and the group I belong to ( Ban The Cannons ) has been successful in convincing the Minister to make changes. The onus is now on the Township to regulate and police the use of propane cannons.

I look forward to your quick response to my questions.

D. S. of Langley
cc: The Honourable John van Dongen, MLA
The Honourable Rich Coleman, MLA
The Honourable Lynn Stephens, MLA

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