LETTER: Propane cannons an archaic and cheap bird deterrent

Re: Government: wake up and hear the cannons, Aug. 1 edition.

I just read your article and I thought I would share my experiences with you.

I lived on five acres of land on 232 street in Langley, building a new house there in 1972. Things were quiet for many years until the blueberry farmers moved in.

The cannon noise was insufferable, starting at sunrise and continuing until sunset every day during the summer and even into early fall.

Neighbours banded together and formed a group to fight the noise pollution. We picketed John van Dongen’s office and eventually got a sit-down meeting with him. We had a forceful presentation and he agreed to slightly increase the time between the blasts, but wouldn’t reduce their hours.

We kept doggedly protesting for more than two years but accomplished little. Even when we won a complaint against a farmer before the Farm Practices Board, they did not enforce restrictions on the farmer.

The Right to Farm legislation was powerful and lopsidedly in favour of the farmers, so we had little success curtailing the cannons. Finally, in frustration, I sold my property in 2002 and moved to Ocean Park.

Since that time another 100 acres of blueberries were planted in land near my old home – with cannons, of course – so my decision to move was the right one.

Currently, I faintly hear cannons from Delta, below Panorama Ridge. More blueberry fields have been planted there recently. Residents of the Ridge must be very upset.

In conclusion, good luck with your protests. Cannons are a primitive means of bird deterrent, but they are cheap, so the farmers will want to continue using them to maximize their profits, and be dammed with their neighbours.

They will just tell people to move, or to lodge a complaint with the Farm Practices board, which will do nothing. So much for democracy and the power of the people.

David W. Swetnam

White Rock

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