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City goal:
Eliminate propane cannon use

City goal: Eliminate propane cannon use

By Russ Akins

City of Abbotsford staff have been told to work with the industry, residents, city lawyers and the agriculture ministry to develop strategies to “ultimately eliminate’’ the use of propane cannons. How to regulate the noise from the devices was back on the agenda yesterday for Abbotsford city councillors.

The issue – which arrives with each summer’s berry crops – was brought back to the table by Mayor George Ferguson.

“There must be a move to ban these devices,’’ said Coun. George Peary, as council’s executive committee heard three delegations of rural residents speak on how the cannons have made their lives unbearable.

As well, council has endorsed a proposal from Roger Clapham (one of the delegations) for a study by experts at the University College of the Fraser Valley, in a bid to draft a scientific database on the problem.

Proposed changes to the city’s noise regulation bylaw were debated by council in August. Some councillors wanted the city to regulate the cannons, whether or not the province would pay the cost of enforcement.

Other councillors wanted the bylaw further amended to ban noise in residential areas before 7 a.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. on Sundays and holidays.

Amendments proposed by staff were defeated – and so the bylaw was again up for debate yesterday.

The city’s lawyers have advised that under provincial right to farm legislation, audible bird scare devices are a “normal farm practice.’’ Toireasa Strong, Abbotsford’s director of administration, told council the public “expects the city to intervene in a timely fashion’’ on noise complaints.

However, as Coun. Patricia Ross noted, the province wants to download costs of policing cannon detonations onto cities such as Abbotsford. And as Deputy Mayor Ed Fast noted, a lack of resources means the city can barely keep up with enforcing existing bylaws. Gaylyne Archibald of Hallert Road was among those delegations who applauded the council decision. She is self-employed, and said she has lost numerous contracts in her work because of the repeated cannon blasts. As well, she said she has had to specially insulate her house against the noise.

“Many times the cannons go off all through the night,’’ she told council, adding her 21-month-old daughter cannot sleep. Said Cherry Groves of Burgess Avenue: “No farmer has the right to subject neighbours to continuous, intolerable, intrusive noise such as this.’’

© Copyright 2002 Abbotsford News

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