EDITORIAL: Tackling the cannon issue

An attempt to at least partially muzzle propane cannons in Abbotsford will once again be undertaken by council

An attempt to at least partially muzzle propane cannons in Abbotsford will once again be undertaken by council.

Civic politicians have repeatedly tried to build a set of local rules regulating the use of the anti-bird blasting devices, and each time failed to pull the trigger.

After multiple attempts in 2013, council passed a set of stringent rules, which were eventually rejected by the provincial government, saying they contravened the Right to Farm Act, which protects agricultural practices – even some as invasive as berry cannons.

A year later, the same council could not agree on a less strict set of local regulations, and left it to staff to look into a regional starling management program.

It was a reasonable concept. If city hall couldn’t control cannons, then perhaps it could get regional help in controlling the bird species representing a major part of the problem of crop destruction.

However, the regional district stepped back, citing costs, potential ineffectiveness and indicating other communities were facing the problem to a lesser extent.

This city now has a “new” council, with four fresh faces and a new mayor. They have three tasks in front of them.

One: Get a firm grasp on this issue and hammer out a local bylaw to strictly enforce firing frequency and setback restrictions, such as what Langley has passed.

Two: Research and initiate a local starling management program, regardless of the regional district’s interest, or lack thereof.

Three: Undertake a major effort to bring together the mayors and councils of numerous other B.C. communities suffering from cannon noise pollution. Create a strong, united group to lobby the provincial government to find the courage to modernize the farming act and reflect the realities of the contemporary interface between agriculture and urbanization.

Lock and load, council.