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John van Dongen's
Propane Cannon Report Card
John van Dongen Back in February, 2002, the BC Ministry of Agriculture finalized new regulations for propane cannon use, and the Minister of Agriculture, the Hon. John van Dongen introduced this topic at the 2002 Tradex Horticultural Show.

Now that propane cannons have started booming again in the valley, just how has the Minister fared with the implementation of these new regulations? The following table lists the many promises made in the regulations package, and in meetings with our group, and what we are actually experiencing now that cannons have started blasting away again.

John van Dongen's Report Card!
New Regulation Accomplished
or Failed
Category A Devices

Firing Frequency of once per 5 min's. for single shot cannons
Langley, Abbotsford, Mission, Surrey, and many more locations report too frequent firings of single shot cannons.
Firing Frequency of 33 shots / hr. for multi-shot cannons
Surrey and Matsqui report rapid firings of triple shot cannons
Separation Distance, 150M within the ALR
Sumas Prairie & Matsqui Village report cannons positioned very near a residence. In one case, grower was unfamiliar with new reg's. but moved the cannon?
Separation Distance, 300M to non-ALR homes
No rpts. yet

Category B Devices

Separation Distance 100 M within the ALR
Screechers used randomly in a field by a Sumas Prairie grower, often closer than 100M to a nearby residence. Distance regulations ignored on Matsqui prairie.
Category A & B Devices

Hours of Operation, 6:30 AM to 8:00 PM
Sumas Prairie, Surrey, and Bradner report early startups, before 6:30 AM.
Surrey reports cannons booming after 8:00 PM.
Four locations report cannons booming all night long.
Cannons must be marked with operator's name & 24 hr. contact phone number
There is no evidence of this being done anywhere, and nothing communicated to the public or marked at the farm gate!
Local contacts must be established for non-resident owners
There is no evidence of this being having been done, and nothing communicated to the public or marked at the farm gate!
A cannon registry be established by the blueberry industry and local governments.
No such registry has been communicated to the public.
New Guidelines to be adopted as Standards

Are these the new standards?
They are not being followed by growers at the start of cannon season. They have not been communicated to the public via local newspapers. They are not being enforced by anyone, and there is no facility to fine violators or confiscate devices.
Regulation of cannons to be turned over to Municipal Gov't.
Not one Municipal Gov't. has stepped up to taking on this new responsibility. (Pitt Meadows has done so partially in the past.)
A complaint process with phone contact numbers will be communicated to residents via local newspapers
This has not been done in any municipality.
The available of netting funds for growers near the edge of ALR
We are well into berry season now, and no netting funding has been provided.

  • Has anything changed to help propane cannon victims? It doesn't seem like it!
  • In this day and age in the corporate world, if an executive failed this miserably, one of two things would happen. He would either fire the staff members who let him down so completely, or he would find himself being "downsized" (or both)!
  • Oh to be fed from the public trough!

Noise annoys, as do ineffective civil servants

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