Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

Features Production Research
Funding expands B.C. noise conflict program


March 13, 2008
By Fruit & Vegetable

Topics

A $100,000 grant to the B.C.
Blueberry Council will expand a successful program that helps to
resolve noise conflicts between blueberry farmers and their neighbours.

bc_bb_noise_fund
Minister of Agriculture and Lands Pat Bell (middle) is shown here on a blueberry farm with members of the B.C. Blueberry Council.

A $100,000 grant to the B.C. Blueberry Council will expand a successful program that helps to resolve noise conflicts between blueberry farmers and their neighbours.

Launched in 2002, the Grower Liaison Officer program focuses on educating blueberry farmers on bird management strategies and the proper use of audible bird-scare devices, primarily propane cannons. The officer works directly with the farmer, neighbours and the local government to address the noise complaint.

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Over the past five years, the program has successfully resolved many potential conflicts, despite the rapid growth of the blueberry industry and expansion of neighbourhoods closer to blueberry fields.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Lands has guidelines regulating the use of devices used for wildlife damage control, and local governments in blueberry growing regions have incorporated the guidelines into noise-control bylaws. In addition, the B.C. Blueberry Council works closely with the ministry and local governments on other bird-scare methods, including reflective streamers, netting, falcons and devices that emit sounds resembling a bird in distress.

B.C. is the biggest producer in Canada of highbush blueberries and the second largest producer in North America. Employing more than 5,000 people, B.C.’s blueberry industry produced 63 million pounds of berries worth $95 million in 2006. Approximately 14,200 acres are in production, double the acreage of five years ago. It is estimated that 10 per cent of the crop is lost to birds.