Late-night cannons call for enforceable bylaws
Editor: I was awoken at 3:30 a.m. Sunday to what sounded like gunshots. When I listened more closely, I realized this was propane cannon blasts, three in succession, followed by a four to five-minute break, then the pattern repeated.
My wife said “you had better confirm this before you call the police.” I was certain I knew where the sound was coming from, a farm more than one kilometre away. I got dressed and headed out to a large blueberry farm on 248 Street.
I waited a minute or two and sure enough, three ear-splitting blasts, then silence. I immediately called the non-emergency line of the Langley RCMP. After about a five-minute wait, the woman on the line apologized, saying it had been a very busy night.
When I explained what I had heard, she commented they had received several calls from the area but could not figure out exactly where the sound was coming from. She dispatched a member and I waited until he arrived at 4:20 a.m. The member told me he had been by the house a number of times throughout the evening, trying to determine if he had the right address. He asked if I was sure this was the place and I said that since I had lived in the area for eight years and had been aware of this particular farm and its cannon use for a number of years, I was certain this was the place.
He went up to the house and after several minutes, someone yelled from inside. The member responded “Police.” A man opened the door and explained he needed the cannons for protection of his crop from the birds. The member responded that the cannon had to be shut off, at least for the balance of the night.
I returned home about 4:45 a.m., heard the cannon one more time and then there was silence until 7:30 a.m. when the cannons resumed, this time all five on the property.
At 8:45 p.m. on Sunday night, I heard the cannons again. some 45 minutes past their allotted shut off time. I called police, and a member was dispatched immediately. About 25 minutes later, the member called me and advised there was no sound. I agreed the cannon must have been shut off in the minutes prior to his arrival.
During an otherwise busy long weekend, the RCMP had to respond multiple times to the same residence because the farmer couldn’t manage his propane cannons. This is yet another reason why noise-making devices have to be strictly controlled through enforceable local bylaws with appropriate penalties for non-compliance.