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Cannon Shots like Torture!

The Vancouver Province has been running a series of articles about "Neighbours in Conflict", and one of the most frequent causes of conflict is noise. This weekend an Abbotsford couple's story was published in the Province. These people are victims of propane cannons.

Their story follows:


The Province

Sunday, September 15, 2002

You think the city is noisy?

When Deborah and Norman McLean bought their four-hectare hobby farm near Abbotsford, they thought they'd found heaven.

But in the past few years, the McLeans -- and dozens of other families in the area -- have found themselves living within earshot of the region's booming blueberry industry.

Between June and October, every day from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., the McLeans say their nervous systems take three consecutive cannon shots every five minutes.

"It's like torture," says Deborah of the cannons, used to frighten birds. "You feel like you're living in Sarajevo. Some of the shots are off in the distance and some are closer. Some are right next to you. It's just this constant barrage of boom, boom, boom. It's like a war zone."

The dispute over blueberry cannons has pitted neighbour against neighbour in this once-peaceful community. People are said to turn their heads as they pass their next-door neighbours in the street. Worst of all, the issue has divided neighbours along ethnic lines as most of the blueberry farmers are Punjabi.

A group called Ban The Cannons lists more than a dozen "quiet" alternatives to the bird problem on its website.

The group has called on provincial Agriculture Minister John Van Dongen to impose a complete ban on blueberry cannons by next January. Van Dongen is currently considering the proposal.

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