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Are We Second Class Citizens
in the Fraser Valley?


Subject: The Kelowna Propane Cannon Decision


Thank you for spending so much time with our group, Ban the Cannons, at the Aldergrove Fair on Saturday. During the discussions a number of our members asked you questions, and one that I asked concerned the recent decision handed down in Kelowna by the Farm Practices Board.

My question was, "why can we not all be given the same rights in the Fraser Valley as were provided to the people of Kelowna in the recent Farm Practices Board decision. Does each of us have to file a formal complaint to the Farm Practices Board to receive relief from propane cannons?"

I was surprised that you were not familiar with the case because the Board ruled in favour of the Kelowna residents and made it virtually impossible for Beaumont Estate Winery to continue to use cannons. Granted the residents represented by Mr. Jim Wright live in a suburban development next to a newly planted vineyard, so the "they were there first" rule may have applied, but so many Fraser Valley towns and rural residents have been here long before cannons were ever dreamed of. We would like the same kind of consideration when you revisit propane cannon regulations this fall.

The following is a summary of the Farm Practices Board's decision in Kelowna:

The Respondents are ordered to modify their bird scaring practices for the subject property as follows:
1. limit the number of cannons to one cannon on the subject property. (Note, the property is about 12 acres!)

2. commence firing the cannon no earlier than 8:00 a.m. and cease firing the cannon no later than 8:00 p.m.

3. within the hours permitted above, fire the cannon only when and as much as necessary to protect the vineyard from bird predation. (Note: If birds are not present, cannons cannot be fired!)

4. permit the cannon to rotate freely (the Guidelines recommend that the cannon not be directed towards the neighbours’ houses, however here, there is no real option).

5. move the cannon location at least every four days in accordance with the Guidelines.

6. limit the maximum number of cannon shots to those set out in the Bird Scare Devices Report and only when necessary. The Bird Scare Devices Report limits a multiple shot cannon to no more than 11 activations consisting of a maximum of 33 shots in an hour (multiple shots are considered one activation if they occur within a 30 second period).

7. legibly mark their audible scare devices with their name and phone number in accordance with the Guidelines.

8. Further, the Respondents are also ordered to modify their practices by: using bird predation measures in addition to the propane cannon, such as human activity, visual deterrents or other scare devices on the subject vineyard.

9. implementing a netting program to begin this 2002 season, such netting to be completed within a reasonable time period.

The Board made many concessions to the residents and some of these are very significant. You can read the entire 13 page text on the Farm Practices Board site at,

Check out the item called: Wright v. Lubchynski - Merits Decision (August 12, 2002).

I hope you have the time to read the results of the Kelowna decision in detail, and after giving the results more thought, cannot these same conclusions be incorporated into updated propane cannon regulations for the 2003 season. After all, shouldn't all citizens of BC be treated equally and be provided with the same relief from propane cannons.

Or to repeat my question from above, does each of us individually have to file a formal complaint to the Farm Practices Board to get relief from propane cannons?

Thank you,

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