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Another Summer of
Government Inaction!
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Dear Mr. VanDongen,
Well, once again we have endured yet another summer of government inaction on effectively dealing with blueberry cannons.

The blueberry farm lobby has been successful in allowing them to pollute in a way that would not be tolerated in any other sector of the community. Pulp mills can no longer dump effluent into the oceans, auto shops canıt pour used oil into drains, manufactuers arenıt allowed to release toxic gases into the air, even farmers are not allowed to dispose of pesticides,herbicides or animal waste into streams or ditches, yet the worst noise pollution imagineable is sanctioned for these privileged few. A form of noise pollution that invades parks, businesses, churches and homes. A noise pollution that cannot be controlled by fences, berms,trees or walls. A form of pollution that is impossible to ignore.

Every business in this country incurs extra expenses related to pollution control. Why blueberry farmers feel they should be exempt from control of noise pollution because of an expense to their very profitable business is a mystery to me.

Iım sure every outlawed practice listed above could result in economic benefit, but we have guidlines to protect people, animals and the environment for the benefit of ALL in the community.

Every municipality in the country has noise by-laws, yet blueberry farmers alone are allowed to circumvent these laws. If I played loud music at night and disturbed the nearby farmer I could be charged and fined, yet the farmer can let his cannon blast all night with no threat of penalty. This is wrong by any standards in a civilized society.

During blueberry season I regularly sleep wearing ear plugs. Around the yard or home I usually wear ear buds tuned to music and ear muffs over them, but this only blocks the distant blasts. If the nearby farms choose to use the loudest, closest most direct cannons the resultant booms invade even these controls. Babies cry, neighborsı horses run and dogs bark. The only creatures seamingly unaffected by the cannons are starlings - the very thing they are meant to control.

Surrey banned the cannons many years ago because of complaints and the unwillingness of farmers to control the cannons in a reasonable way. The reward for the farmersı intransigence was to be exempted from noise by-laws by the Farm Practices Act legislation. A true sign-of-the-times where bad behaviour is rewarded instead of punished.

I have a simple question - Why is this self-serving, inconsiderate group of farmers allowed to supercede the rights of any other other citizen within ear shot?

Using archaic cannons for bird control will eventually be outlawed, just as have other types of pollution we now recognize as harmful. Why not lead the way by outlawing them now?

Consider - there are no options for those affected by the noise but, the farmers have many alternatives.

PB, of Surrey


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