If the City of Abbotsford asked the province to change legislation regulating the use of propane cannons, the province would give it consideration, said Premier Christy Clark during a visit to the Abbotsford News on Tuesday.
As Abbotsford looks towards creating a bylaw regulating the use of propane cannons, Clark said the province will review the city’s proposal and determine whether it can be accommodated under the current law.
“Whether or not it’s a problem is not at issue here … it creates all kinds of conflicts in communities like Abbotsford which are increasingly urbanizing, but also highly dependent on agriculture.”
When Clark was asked whether the Right to Farm Act – which protects the use of cannons as a normal farm practice – could be changed in the future, she said “if the City of Abbotsford asks us to consider that legislative change as part of their proposal, we will obviously give it some very serious thought. But until we see what they are asking for, and how they would like us to approach it, it’s hard to answer that question.”
Clark noted cannons have been a part of farming in the Valley for a long time and they’ve been an effective tool, but added, “In a world where we are seeing increasing urbanization and these conflicts are getting bigger and bigger, we have an obligation, perhaps, to think about it differently.”
Mayor Henry Braun told The News on Wednesday that the city previously submitted a bylaw to regulate cannons that exceeded the restrictions set out in the provincial guidelines – and it was rejected by the minister of agriculture.
He said the city will try to pass a bylaw closer to provincial guidelines, similar to one that was approved for the Township of Langley. Braun said that is a first step, and if the bylaw doesn’t work, they can return to the ministry and explain that it hasn’t helped and something more is needed.
“My understanding is that the minister of agriculture may be open to imposing stricter regulations in certain applications, so that would be the next step.”
Braun said he plans to discuss the issue with other local mayors.