Council unanimously passed the final reading of a resolution during Wednesday (June 14) night’s meeting which amends the town’s noise and nuisance bylaw to fast-track noise exemptions for farmers looking to scare nuisance animals away from their crops with shotguns or noisemakers.
Area farmers had previously requested a blanket exemption but council was not comfortable granting it.
The new resolution allows exemption requests to be judged on a case-by-case basis by the town’s chief administrative officer, Robert Hughes. Hughes could then grant a temporary exemption to the individual farmer.
Exemptions have been granted previously, however, in the past the decision had to be voted on by council during a monthly town meeting.
Coun. Emile Gallant, chair of the safety and services board, previously told The Guardian the amendment was necessary to save time for farmers. In previous cases, much of the damage to crops had already been done while farmers waited for council to vote on the exemption.
“It can take a while (to get an exemption from council) while the CAO can make a decision that same day,” said Gallant. “Last year, we heard of some farmers over a 24- to 48-hour period losing $10,000 from crows coming in and taking all the small crops they had planted.
“So decisions have to be made very quickly for them.”
While crows have been the main source of problems, the amendment will include other nuisance animals. Affected crops have ranged from turnips, cabbages, strawberries and brussel sprouts to just about any produce that has a seed planted only a few inches underground and within reach of the nuisance animals.