Bird cannons rattle Ladner residents
Residents of Sunrise Lane in Ladner are starting to feel like they are under attack after a nearby farm decided to employ air cannons to ward off birds.
Kenneth Bell suffers from Parkinson’s disease and says the constant blasts rattle his nerves while he is at his home near 64th Street.
“I’m a nervous wreck to start with, and this doesn’t help matters,” said Bell. “I might as well head to the asylum if this keeps up.”
The propane-powered cannons make a noise similar to a shotgun blast every half hour at roughly 115 decibels. A farm on the 4100-block of 64th Street uses two of the cannons.
“The first time I heard it, I thought, my God we’re being invaded,” Bell said.
Tim McMullen lives across the street from Bell, and while he said he has grown used to the noise, his wife, who suffers from a sleep disorder, has not.
“First thing in the morning it wakes her up and she can’t get back to sleep again,” he said. “And when the wind is blowing in from that direction, it sounds like a howitzer going off in your living room.”
While the subdivision is surrounded by working farms, McMullen said it’s not as though they moved next to an airport and are complaining about the planes.
“I’ve lived here for years, and this only started in January,” he said. “We’ve never had a problem before this.
Much of the neighbourhood would like the cannons moved further away from their homes, or shut off altogether.
“We’re certainly not anti-farming,” said Bell. “I respect the farmers and the work they do. But this is about being neighbourly.”
Hugh Davies, the Corporation of Delta’s manager of property use and complaints, said the municipality gets complaints all the time about air cannons used by a number of farms. However, because of provincial legislation protecting the right to farm, the cannons are exempt from municipal noise bylaws.
“They are an accepted farming practice, so there’s not much we can do,” said Davies. “Birds can cause a lot of damage to the fields, so this is one way they’ve come up with to get rid of them, since you can’t just put a net over an entire field.”
Hughes said the municipality is working with the Agricultural Land Commission, which oversees air cannon use, to keep the noise from the air cannons within reasonable limits.
One such limit is that the air cannons can only be used between sunrise and sunset.
Davies said the farm has already been warned about firing the cannons after dark, but is now complying with the municipality.
“This is one of the clashes we have between agriculture being this close to residential, along with the smell, and slow-moving farm vehicles on the road,” Davies said. “Farmers have a right to farm, but we also expect farmers to be reasonable and be good neighbours.”