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One out of 10 blueberry farmers registers propane cannons

One in 10 Langley Township blueberry farms has applied to register audible bird scare devices. There has been lots of concern about the use of propane cannons to scare birds away. - Wikimedia photo
One in 10 Langley Township blueberry farms has applied to register audible bird scare devices. There has been lots of concern about the use of propane cannons to scare birds away.
— image credit: Wikimedia photo

So far, just one in 10 Langley blueberry farms have applied to register audible bird scare devices under new Township regulations that restrict the use of the controversial propane cannons.

The municipal Agricultural Advisory Committee filed its annual report on Jan. 7 saying that 13 applications to register devices have been received since the new regulations took effect in June of last year.

That is slightly more than 10 per cent of the estimated 125 blueberry farms operating in the Township.

The Langley bylaw requires blueberry farmers to get a $125-a-year licence to register their bird scare devices with the Township of Langley, as well as post a notice before they use one.

Some blueberry farmers have balked at the registration fee and notice requirements, telling Langley Township the bylaw that aims to limit the use of propane cannons unfairly singled them out.

That’s according to a provincial government briefing note released under freedom of information (FOI) regulations.

“They [the farmers] have expressed concern that the registration requirement singles out their industry with an additional burden not carried by other agricultural industries under the Farm Practices Protection Act,” the note says.

“They are also concerned with the precedent of being required to post a sign at their driveway when using propane cannons.”

The new Township bylaws restrict how often the cannons can be fired, allowing one firing every five minutes for a single cannon.

They also require a 100-metre setback from horse trails.

The bylaw sets escalating fines for violating the rules, $150 for a first offence, $350 for a second and $500 for a third and any subsequent offence.

The regulations were drafted by the Propane Cannon Task Force, which was created by the municipal Agricultural Advisory Committee.

Township began enforcement of the new rules in July, following their final approval on June 24 by Langley Township council by a 7-1 vote.

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