Control of noise limited

There is little local authorities can do to stop farmers from making noise while protecting crops.

There is little local authorities can do to stop farmers from making noise while protecting crops.

The Regional District of North Okanagan has adopted a noise regulation bylaw, but director Mary-Jo O’Keefe is concerned it does nothing to prevent orchardists from firing off cannons to scare away birds when tourists at a campground are sleeping.

“Being woken up by a cannon is not much fun,” she said.

However, RDNO staff insist the issue is largely out of their control.

“Under the provincial Right to Farm legislation, they (farmers) have the right to blow their cannons when the sun comes up,” said John Friesen, bylaw enforcement officer.

Friesen added that any complaints about cannons before 7 a.m. have occurred when the timer on the device has malfunctioned.

The bylaw states that audible bird scare devices can only be operated from one half-hour before sunrise to 7 p.m. or one one-half-hour before sunrise to sunset, whichever is of a lesser duration.

The cannons can be used between May 15 and Nov. 15.

Despite provincial regulations, O’Keefe believes RDNO should encourage farmers to consider neighbours and tourism businesses before using the cannons.

“We as a district should say, ‘We’d like you to start at 7 a.m.,’” she said.