By Mike Archer. Councillor John Smith is absolutely right. A starling control program, which would reduce the number of starlings attacking local blueberry crops, is the sanest solution to the problem of propane cannons.
The fact that growers in Washington state and the Okanagan have been effectively using such programs for years ought to give us a clue in resolving this endless dispute over cannons in our own fields.
Since the politics of interest groups is keeping Abbotsford council from being able to make a principled decision on the matter, and has kept council stuck doing nothing for years on the issue, rather than appeal to the provincial government or threaten to add one more ultra vires bylaw to our books, why doesn’t the City of Abbotsford simply fork over the $30,000 a year Smith says is required to administer the program used by our neighbours south of the border.
It would also take us out of the endless blame game which pits farmer against farmer, neighbour against neighbour, city against province … and never resolves a thing.
Council is able to arrive at unanimous agreement when it comes to risking hundreds of millions of dollars on vanity projects and pipe dreams. Let’s remove the politicking from this issue and simply agree to solve the problem for the farmers. Surely, even in the financial mess we are in, $30,000 a year can be found to resolve such an annoying an intractable issue.
With fewer starlings to threaten their crops, paid for by the citizens of Abbotsford, the B.C. Blueberry Council can then take on the responsibility of educating their membership about the benefits of they are receiving and the need to, a) adhere to existing regulations, and, b) gradually remove propane cannons over a three-year period as the threat to their crops is decreased thanks to the investment of their fellow citizens.
Together with a bylaw that is both enforceable and enforced