BLENKINSOP VALLEY COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION
PO Box 30063, 3989 Quadra St., Victoria BC, V8X 5E1
250-477-8539

 

June 2010 Newsletter

Dear BVCA members:

The BVCA directors met on June 16, 2010. We hope you find the following items of interest:

Bird Control

In collaboration with the Broadmead Area Residents’ Association and the North Quadra Association (the latter was unable to send a representative) the BVCA met with representatives of the Beckwith Farm and with Mayor Leonard regarding the use of propane cannons for bird control. At these meetings the BVCA indicated its position of supporting farming and farming practices which are considered acceptable under the provincial farming guidelines.

We were told that many blueberry bushes were stripped of leaves and their new growth by geese. These needed to be pruned back and it is expected they have been set back by a year.

The cannons have been effective at dispersing the geese. Other deterrents such as dog patrols were not very helpful.

The farm is obtaining other deterrents’ such as distressed bird calls (they have ordered a distressed goose call) and birds of prey kites. They also have ordered other visual deterrents which reflect light as they move in the wind.

The use of cannons is expected to be as it has been this year for the next 2 years. As the plants start to produce, the cannons will likely be used more.

The farm representatives expressed concern about the impact the cannons have had on neighbouring residents. 

The community associations raised the possibility of public funds being used to help farmers with predation control and we mentioned that the community associations could initiate such a conversation.

The farm representatives felt it would be worthwhile to commission a report to see if there are alternative methods of predation control that might be used instead of using the cannons.

The municipality has been advised that the use of the cannons is now following provincial guidelines (there were some problems at the time of startup). The municipality is looking into the feasibility of creating a farm bylaw which would first require provincial approval. Four other communities have such bylaws which have received approval. Generally, farm bylaws do not create controls over those set out in the provincial guidelines. There has, however, been a precedent where this did occur.

At the BVCA directors meeting on June 16, a motion was passed for the BVCA to contribute up to $500.00 towards the report being commissioned by the Beckwith Farm looking for alternatives to the use of propane cannons. This is subject to the BVCA directors approving the format of the report once we receive further information from Beckwith Farm.

 

Rural Wildfires

A representative of the Saanich Fire Department gave a presentation at the June 16 meeting on rural wildfires. There are approximately 1200 wildfires in BC each summer. About half are caused by lightening and the other half by people. The number caused by people has been increasing.

Spot fires are caused by sparks that originate from other fires. The sparks can be carried several kilometers in the air. In 2003 the Kelowna fire resulted in the loss of 340 homes. Three hundred of these homes were ignited by sparks and 40 of the homes were ignited by direct contact with the original fire.

Debris on a roof and in the gutters can easily ignite if an ember should land on the roof. This is further aggravated if combustible building materials such as wooden shingles have been used.

The following suggestions were made to reduce the risk of fire to our homes:

- keep roof and gutters clear of debris
- close in open eaves
- screen vent openings
- assess property for combustibles within 30 metres of the home
- use non-combustible building materials on the house exterior when possible
- avoid branches overhanging the home
- provide access to attics and crawl spaces so homeowners can check for spot fires following fire   passage.
- avoid storing firewood adjacent to the home
- contact the utility company to prune vegetation away from overhead power lines

The Saanich Fire Department would like to give a more in-depth presentation at a BVCA general meeting. If this occurs, we strongly recommend you attend this very informative and thought provoking presentation.

With thanks,

The BVCA directors

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